[TUHS] What was your "Aha, Unix!" moment?

Adam Thornton athornton at gmail.com
Sat Oct 12 16:12:47 AEST 2019

On Oct 11, 2019, at 9:42 PM, Doug McIlroy <doug at cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:
> Aha, Apple! Not intended for programmers.
> And that didn't change until OS X.

Well, the II kinda was.  Not by the time of the //gs, which, if you were writing C, was probably the one you were using.  By then it had a windowing system and complications.  And then the Mac, prior to OS X, yeah, not intended for the end user to be a software developer.

But the II/II+/IIe were all straightforward machines.  As long as you wanted to write BASIC or 6502 assembly they were reasonably programmer-friendly (I say, as someone who couldn’t afford Merlin, the real assembler of the day, at that point, and did his assembly by hand, so, yeah, maybe not THAT friendly).  Once you learned what the zero page addresses were for in the particular OS/ROM BASIC you were running, it was a pretty intelligible system.

….and now having done a little googling, there was indeed an Aztec C for Apple II DOS 3.3 in 1982.  If that was what you were using, well, yep, looks like you had to use its editor, but the sample program (slightly more complex than “Hello world") looks pretty much like it would have in any other C (interestingly, no #include <stdio.h> needed):

main(argc, argv)
int argc;
char *argv[];
  register int i = 1;

  printf("Program <%s> has %d arguments\n", argv[0], argc-l);
  while (--argc) {
    printf("Arg %d = <%s>\n", i, argv[i]);
So I’m guessing you were using something for the //gs plus GS/OS.


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