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* [COFF] Algol68 (was Re: [TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other?
       [not found]       ` <CAD2gp_R3JjgqLK-sBzaga63-2Jp_Hx15bnxMDKxp4+aCOzYSiw@mail.gmail.com>
@ 2020-12-17 16:35         ` bakul
  2020-12-18  0:31           ` cowan
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 3+ messages in thread
From: bakul @ 2020-12-17 16:35 UTC (permalink / raw)


On Dec 16, 2020, at 8:08 PM, John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org> wrote:
> 
> Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if A68 had become the medium-level language of Unix, and Pascal had become the language of non-Unix, instead of both of them using C.

Funny how we seem to rehash the same things over the years!

In a 1988 comp.lang.misc thread when I expressed hope that "a major
subset of Algol 68 with a new and concise syntax (sort of like C's)
can make a very elegant, type safe and well rounded language.", Piet
van Oostrum[1] commented the combination of dynamic arrays *and*
unions forced the use of GC in Algol68. Either feature by themselves
wouldn't have required GC! The larger point being that compiler
complexity is "almost exponential" (his words) to the number of
added features. Piet and others also wrote that both Pascal and C
had left out a lot of the hard things in A68. So I doubt A68 or a
subset would have replaced C or Pascal in 70s-80s.

[My exposure to Algol68 was when I had stumbled upon Brailsford and
Walker's wonderful "Introductory Algol 68 programming" @ USC. After
having used PL/I, Pascal & Fortran the regularity of A68 was quite 
enticing but AFAIK no one used A68 at USC. I must admit I still like
it more than modern languages like Java, Go, Rust, C++, ...]

[1] Piet had implemented major parts of both A68 and A60.



^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 3+ messages in thread

* [COFF] Algol68 (was Re: [TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other?
  2020-12-17 16:35         ` [COFF] Algol68 (was Re: [TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other? bakul
@ 2020-12-18  0:31           ` cowan
  2020-12-18  1:25             ` bakul
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 3+ messages in thread
From: cowan @ 2020-12-18  0:31 UTC (permalink / raw)


On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 11:35 AM Bakul Shah <bakul at iitbombay.org> wrote:

> Funny how we seem to rehash the same things over the years!
>

Ars longa, vita brevis.

> In a 1988 comp.lang.misc thread when I expressed hope that "a major
> subset of Algol 68 with a new and concise syntax (sort of like C's)
> can make a very elegant, type safe and well rounded language.",


Thanks.  The URL is <
https://groups.google.com/u/2/g/comp.lang.misc/c/qkmB_3zuC7Y/m/-Bk9z-oZaqYJ
>.

> Piet
> van Oostrum[1] commented the combination of dynamic arrays *and*
> unions forced the use of GC in Algol68. Either feature by themselves
> wouldn't have required GC!


I can't find this anywhere in the thread or elsewhere in comp.lang.misc.
Do you have a reference?

In any case, I don't understand how a safe language with pointers can avoid
the need for *some* kind of GC.

[My exposure to Algol68 was when I had stumbled upon Brailsford and
> Walker's wonderful "Introductory Algol 68 programming"


Alas, I can only find this at one shady site, or in hardback at Amazon for
USD 20 which is a lot for a pig in a poke (no preview).



John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
"But I am the real Strider, fortunately," he said, looking down at them
with his face softened by a sudden smile.  "I am Aragorn son of Arathorn,
and if by life or death I can save you, I will."
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* [COFF] Algol68 (was Re: [TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other?
  2020-12-18  0:31           ` cowan
@ 2020-12-18  1:25             ` bakul
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 3+ messages in thread
From: bakul @ 2020-12-18  1:25 UTC (permalink / raw)


On Dec 17, 2020, at 4:31 PM, John Cowan <cowan at ccil.org> wrote:
> 
> 
> 
> On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 11:35 AM Bakul Shah <bakul at iitbombay.org <mailto:bakul at iitbombay.org>> wrote:
> Funny how we seem to rehash the same things over the years!
> 
> Ars longa, vita brevis.
> In a 1988 comp.lang.misc thread when I expressed hope that "a major
> subset of Algol 68 with a new and concise syntax (sort of like C's)
> can make a very elegant, type safe and well rounded language.",
> 
> Thanks.  The URL is <https://groups.google.com/u/2/g/comp.lang.misc/c/qkmB_3zuC7Y/m/-Bk9z-oZaqYJ <https://groups.google.com/u/2/g/comp.lang.misc/c/qkmB_3zuC7Y/m/-Bk9z-oZaqYJ>>.
> Piet
> van Oostrum[1] commented the combination of dynamic arrays *and*
> unions forced the use of GC in Algol68. Either feature by themselves
> wouldn't have required GC!
> 
> I can't find this anywhere in the thread or elsewhere in comp.lang.misc.  Do you have a reference?

Here's the link: https://groups.google.com/g/comp.lang.misc/c/qkmB_3zuC7Y/m/erN_TfDF38IJ

> In any case, I don't understand how a safe language with pointers can avoid the need for *some* kind of GC.

Note that I was talking about a "type safe" subset as opposed to as stricter "safe" subset.
One can argue that Pascal was type safe even with new() / dispose() for pointers.
[Referencing a dead pointer is a runtime error, just like divide by zero]
I think his point was more that each of dynamic arrays by themselves wouldn't require
GC and the same for unions. Remember I was talking about a vague typesafe subset.
So the question is which features to remove? Rmoving pointers would certainly be under
consideration.

> [My exposure to Algol68 was when I had stumbled upon Brailsford and
> Walker's wonderful "Introductory Algol 68 programming"
> 
> Alas, I can only find this at one shady site, or in hardback at Amazon for USD 20 which is a lot for a pig in a poke (no preview).

I think it was less useful as an introduction to programming but was just right for me!
There are other introductory books/articles including one by Andrew Tanenbaum:
https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.83.4668&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Lindsey and van der Muellen's Informal Introduction to Algol 68:
http://www.softwarepreservation.org/projects/ALGOL/book/Lindsey_van_der_Meulen-IItA68-Revised.pdf

J.E.L.Peck's Algol Companion may also be of help:
http://www.softwarepreservation.org/projects/ALGOL/paper/An%20Algol%2068%20Companion.pdf

I have heard good things about Frank Pagan's A Practical Guide to Algol 68...
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2020-12-17 16:35         ` [COFF] Algol68 (was Re: [TUHS] Were cron and at done at the same time? Or one before the other? bakul
2020-12-18  0:31           ` cowan
2020-12-18  1:25             ` bakul

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