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* Re: [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation
       [not found] ` <CAFH29tomxKDFn-pRBT21-X+m4ugzzn-tuGyY-Cq0hN6i5-=oeQ@mail.gmail.com>
@ 2021-11-16 15:53   ` Adam Thornton
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Adam Thornton @ 2021-11-16 15:53 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Computer Old Farts Followers


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From TUHS (to Doug McIlroy):
"Curious what you think of APL"

I'm sure what Doug thinks of APL is unprintable.  Unless, of course, he has
the special type ball.

<rimshot>

On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 8:23 AM Richard Salz <rich.salz@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.
>>
>
> You seem to have a gift for notation. That's rare.  Curious what you think
> of APL?
>

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* [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation]
       [not found] <CAKH6PiXtVetBZbyvOiWZFSTvNebSTEuaYkOoUx4KPg4wtdvN8g@mail.gmail.com>
       [not found] ` <CAFH29tomxKDFn-pRBT21-X+m4ugzzn-tuGyY-Cq0hN6i5-=oeQ@mail.gmail.com>
@ 2021-11-16 18:54 ` Nemo Nusquam
  2021-11-16 19:40   ` Charles H Sauer
  2021-11-16 20:20   ` Bakul Shah
       [not found] ` <b355e6b8-720d-3078-d54a-2beb5ff79bd4@mhorton.net>
  2 siblings, 2 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Nemo Nusquam @ 2021-11-16 18:54 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: coff

On 2021-11-16 09:57, Douglas McIlroy wrote:
> The following remark stirred old memories. Apologies for straying off
> the path of TUHS.
>
>> I have gotten the impression that [PL/I] was a language that was beloved by no one.
> As I was a designer of PL/I, an implementer of EPL (the preliminary
> PL/I compiler used to build Multics), and author of the first PL/I
> program to appear in the ACM Collected Algorithms, it's a bit hard to
> admit that PL/I was "insignificant". I'm proud, though, of having
> conceived the SIGNAL statement, which pioneered exception handling,
> and the USES and SETS attributes, which unfortunately sank into
> oblivion. I also spurred Bud Lawson to invent -> for pointer-chasing.
> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.
>
> After the ACM program I never wrote another line of PL/I.
> Gratification finally came forty years on when I met a retired
> programmer who, unaware of my PL/I connection, volunteered that she
> had loved PL/I above all other programming languages.

My first language was actually PL/C  (and the computer centre did not 
charge for runs in PL/C).  I needed to use PL/I for some thesis-related 
work and ran into the JLC wall -- no issues with the former, many issues 
with the latter.  One of the support people, upon learning that I was 
using PL/I, said: "PL/I's alright!"

N.

>
> Doug

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* Re: [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation]
  2021-11-16 18:54 ` [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam
@ 2021-11-16 19:40   ` Charles H Sauer
  2021-11-16 20:20   ` Bakul Shah
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Charles H Sauer @ 2021-11-16 19:40 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: coff

On 11/16/2021 12:54 PM, Nemo Nusquam wrote:
> On 2021-11-16 09:57, Douglas McIlroy wrote:
>> The following remark stirred old memories. Apologies for straying off
>> the path of TUHS.

>>> I have gotten the impression that [PL/I] was a language that was 
>>> beloved by no one.
>> As I was a designer of PL/I, an implementer of EPL (the preliminary
>> PL/I compiler used to build Multics), and author of the first PL/I
>> program to appear in the ACM Collected Algorithms, it's a bit hard to
>> admit that PL/I was "insignificant". I'm proud, though, of having
>> conceived the SIGNAL statement, which pioneered exception handling,
>> and the USES and SETS attributes, which unfortunately sank into
>> oblivion. I also spurred Bud Lawson to invent -> for pointer-chasing.
>> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.

>> After the ACM program I never wrote another line of PL/I.
>> Gratification finally came forty years on when I met a retired
>> programmer who, unaware of my PL/I connection, volunteered that she
>> had loved PL/I above all other programming languages.

> My first language was actually PL/C  (and the computer centre did not 
> charge for runs in PL/C).  I needed to use PL/I for some thesis-related 
> work and ran into the JLC wall -- no issues with the former, many issues 
> with the latter.  One of the support people, upon learning that I was 
> using PL/I, said: "PL/I's alright!"

Inside IBM in the 70s, PL/I was definitely not "insignificant". From my 
perspective it was the most reasonable language available on VM/370. I 
arrived at Yorktown in 1975 fresh from Austin with a couple of boxes of 
punch cards of my "APLOMB" simulation program written in Fortran. I was 
surprised when I was encouraged to pursue major enhancement of APLOMB 
and dismayed by continuing in Fortran. After a period of increasing 
frustration, I wrote a SNOBOL program to convert APLOMB to PL/I and 
become the basis for RESQ 
(https://notes.technologists.com/notes/2020/08/25/remembering-resq/). As 
long as I avoided questionable parts of IBM's PL/I, I was happy with 
PL/I. It is hard to imagine that RESQ would have succeeded in any other 
language.

-- 
voice: +1.512.784.7526       e-mail: sauer@technologists.com
fax: +1.512.346.5240         Web: https://technologists.com/sauer/
Facebook/Google/Twitter: CharlesHSauer
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* Re: [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation]
  2021-11-16 18:54 ` [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam
  2021-11-16 19:40   ` Charles H Sauer
@ 2021-11-16 20:20   ` Bakul Shah
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Bakul Shah @ 2021-11-16 20:20 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: coff

On Nov 16, 2021, at 10:55 AM, Nemo Nusquam <cym224@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> On 2021-11-16 09:57, Douglas McIlroy wrote:
>> The following remark stirred old memories. Apologies for straying off
>> the path of TUHS.
>> 
>>> I have gotten the impression that [PL/I] was a language that was beloved by no one.
>> As I was a designer of PL/I, an implementer of EPL (the preliminary
>> PL/I compiler used to build Multics), and author of the first PL/I
>> program to appear in the ACM Collected Algorithms, it's a bit hard to
>> admit that PL/I was "insignificant". I'm proud, though, of having
>> conceived the SIGNAL statement, which pioneered exception handling,
>> and the USES and SETS attributes, which unfortunately sank into
>> oblivion. I also spurred Bud Lawson to invent -> for pointer-chasing.
>> The former notation C(B(A)) became A->B->C. This was PL/I's gift to C.
>> 
>> After the ACM program I never wrote another line of PL/I.
>> Gratification finally came forty years on when I met a retired
>> programmer who, unaware of my PL/I connection, volunteered that she
>> had loved PL/I above all other programming languages.
> 
> My first language was actually PL/C  (and the computer centre did not charge for runs in PL/C).  I needed to use PL/I for some thesis-related work and ran into the JLC wall -- no issues with the former, many issues with the latter.  One of the support people, upon learning that I was using PL/I, said: "PL/I's alright!"

For my very first programming assignment @ USC I spent extra 17 hours due
to an extra space in the JCL statement! It wasn’t a total waste as I rewrote my
program twice, learned to prove to myself that it was correct and once I removed
the space and the program worked, I had a lightbulb moment: Computers were
not inscrutable or mysterious; they were just dumb and literal :-)

I learned IBM assembly language, Fortran and PL/C during those two semesters.
I even wrote an autorouter in Fortran for a project but that my last Fortran project.
Later for a part time job I tried to learn and use pretty much every feature of PL/I.
I found it easier to use than Fortran and fun. Then when I stumbled upon Iverson’s
book on APL and discovered I could use it from an interactive terminal, I managed
to convince the scientist I was working for to let me use it. That was even more fun
but it didn’t last as I made a careless mistake & the program ran too long and used
up most of my boss’es computing budget so it was back to PL/I!

> 
> N.
> 
>> 
>> Doug
> 
> _______________________________________________
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^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 9+ messages in thread

* Re: [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation
       [not found]   ` <CAEdTPBdVnPQMaDX0jOL81EkL1M7Eg=U4qWPwKMsr6SBc2Zz9vw@mail.gmail.com>
@ 2021-11-23 15:23     ` Clem Cole
  2021-11-24  0:38       ` [COFF] Self-hosting languages (was: Book Recommendation) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
  2021-11-23 19:40     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Dan Cross
  2021-11-24  1:57     ` [COFF] PL/1 [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam
  2 siblings, 1 reply; 9+ messages in thread
From: Clem Cole @ 2021-11-23 15:23 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Henry Bent; +Cc: COFF, Mary Ann Horton


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Moving to COFF where this probably belongs because its less UNIX and more
PL oriented.

On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 AM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent@gmail.com> wrote:

> What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
>
I don't know about anyone else, but the VAX PL/1 front-end was bought by
DEC from Freiburghouse (??SP??) in Framingham, MA. It was written in PL/1
on a Multics system. The Front-end was the same one that Pr1me used
although Pr1me also bought their Fortran, which DEC did not.  [FWIW: The
DEC/Intel Fortran Front-End was written in Pascal -- still is last time I
talked to the compiler folks].

I do not know what the Freiburghouse folks used for a compiler-compiler
(Steve or Doug might ), but >>I think<< it might not have used one.
Culter famously led the new backend for it and had to shuttle tapes from
MIT to ZKO in Nashua during the development.  The backend was written in a
combination of PL/1, BLISS32  and Assembler.  Once the compiler could self
host, everything moved to ZKO.

That compiler originally targeted VMS, but was moved to Unix/VAX at one
point as someone else pointed out.

When the new GEM compilers were about 10-15 years later, I was under the
impressions that the original Freiburghouse/Culter hacked front-end was
reworked to use the GEM backend system, as GEM used BLISS, and C for the
runtimes and a small amount of Assembler as needed for each ISA [And I
believe it continues to be the same from VSI folks today].   GEM based PL/1
was released on Alpha when I was still at DEC, and I believe that it was
released for Itanium a few years later [by Intel under contract to
Compaq/HP].  VSI has built a GEM based Intel*64 and is releasing/has
released VMS for same using it; I would suspect they moved PL/1 over also
[Their target customer is the traditional DEC VMS customer that still has
active applications and wants to run them on modern HW].   I'll have to ask
one of my former coworkers, who at one point was and I still think is, the
main compiler guy at VSI/resident GEM expert.


> Wikipedia claims that IBM is still developing a PL/I compiler, which I
> suppose I have no reason to disbelieve, but I'm very curious as to who is
> using it and for what purpose.
>
As best I can tell, commercial sites still use it for traditional code,
just like Cobol. It's interesting, Intel does neither but we spend a ton of
money on Fortran because so much development (both old and new) in the
scientific community requires it.  I answered why elsewhere in more
detail: Where
is Fortran used these days
<https://www.quora.com/Where-is-Fortran-used-these-days/answers/87679712>
and Is Fortran still alive
<https://www.quora.com/Is-Fortran-still-alive/answer/Clem-Cole>

My >>guess<< is that PL/1 is suffering the same fate as Cobol, and fading
because the apps are being/have been slowly rewritten from custom code to
using COTS solutions from folks like Oracle, SAS, BAAN and the like.   Not
so for Fortran and the reason is that the math has not changed.  The core
of these codes is the same was it was in the 1960s/70s when they were
written.  A friend of mine used to be the Chief Metallurgist for the US Gov
at NIST and as Dr. Fek put it so well: * "I have over 60 years worth of
data that we have classified and we understand what it is telling us.   If
you magically gave me new code to do the same thing as what we do with our
processes that we have developed over the years, I would have to reclassify
all that data.  It's just not economically interesting."  *I personally
equate it to the QWERTY keyboard.  Just not going to change. *i.e.* *"Simple
economics always beats sophisticated architecture."*

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* Re: [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation
       [not found]   ` <CAEdTPBdVnPQMaDX0jOL81EkL1M7Eg=U4qWPwKMsr6SBc2Zz9vw@mail.gmail.com>
  2021-11-23 15:23     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Clem Cole
@ 2021-11-23 19:40     ` Dan Cross
  2021-11-24  1:57     ` [COFF] PL/1 [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Dan Cross @ 2021-11-23 19:40 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Henry Bent; +Cc: COFF, Mary Ann Horton


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[-TUHS, +COFF]

On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 AM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Mon, 22 Nov 2021 at 21:31, Mary Ann Horton <mah@mhorton.net> wrote:
>
>> PL/I was my favorite mainframe programming language my last two years as
>> an undergrad. I liked how it incorporated ideas from FORTRAN, ALGOL, and
>> COBOL. My student job was to enhance a PL/I package for a History
>> professor.
>>
>
> What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
>

The only PL/I compiler I have access to is, somewhat ironically, the
Multics PL/1 compiler. It is largely self-hosting; more details can be
found here: https://multicians.org/pl1.html (Note Doug's name appears
prominently.)

Wikipedia claims that IBM is still developing a PL/I compiler, which I
> suppose I have no reason to disbelieve, but I'm very curious as to who is
> using it and for what purpose.
>

I imagine most of it is legacy code in a mainframe environment, similarly
to COBOL. I can't imagine that many folks are considering new development
in PL/1 other than in retro/hobbyist environments and some mainframe shops
where there's a heavy existing PL/I investment.

        - Dan C.

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* [COFF] Self-hosting languages (was: Book Recommendation)
  2021-11-23 15:23     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Clem Cole
@ 2021-11-24  0:38       ` Greg 'groggy' Lehey
  2021-11-24  1:48         ` Brantley Coile
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 9+ messages in thread
From: Greg 'groggy' Lehey @ 2021-11-24  0:38 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Clem Cole; +Cc: COFF, Henry Bent, Mary Ann Horton


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On Tuesday, 23 November 2021 at 10:23:47 -0500, Clem Cole wrote:
> Moving to COFF where this probably belongs because its less UNIX and more
> PL oriented.
>
> On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 AM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
>>
> I don't know about anyone else, but the VAX PL/1 front-end was bought by
> DEC from Freiburghouse (??SP??) in Framingham, MA. It was written in PL/1
> on a Multics system.

I can easily believe that PL/I was written in PL/I.  While at Tandem,
I met Don Nelson, apparently an important member of the COBOL world.
He was, of course, responsible for our COBOL compiler (which, again
I'm told, had quite a good reputation).  Don told me that he had
written it entirely in COBOL.

Now that's a whole different level of difficulty.

Greg
--
Sent from my desktop computer.
Finger grog@lemis.com for PGP public key.
See complete headers for address and phone numbers.
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* Re: [COFF] Self-hosting languages (was: Book Recommendation)
  2021-11-24  0:38       ` [COFF] Self-hosting languages (was: Book Recommendation) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
@ 2021-11-24  1:48         ` Brantley Coile
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Brantley Coile @ 2021-11-24  1:48 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Greg 'groggy' Lehey; +Cc: COFF, Henry Bent, Mary Ann Horton

Unstring was his friend, I would guess. Nothing in COBOL is recursive. 

> On Nov 23, 2021, at 7:38 PM, Greg 'groggy' Lehey <grog@lemis.com> wrote:
> 
>> On Tuesday, 23 November 2021 at 10:23:47 -0500, Clem Cole wrote:
>> Moving to COFF where this probably belongs because its less UNIX and more
>> PL oriented.
>> 
>>> On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 3:00 AM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> 
>>> What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
>>> 
>> I don't know about anyone else, but the VAX PL/1 front-end was bought by
>> DEC from Freiburghouse (??SP??) in Framingham, MA. It was written in PL/1
>> on a Multics system.
> 
> I can easily believe that PL/I was written in PL/I.  While at Tandem,
> I met Don Nelson, apparently an important member of the COBOL world.
> He was, of course, responsible for our COBOL compiler (which, again
> I'm told, had quite a good reputation).  Don told me that he had
> written it entirely in COBOL.
> 
> Now that's a whole different level of difficulty.
> 
> Greg
> --
> Sent from my desktop computer.
> Finger grog@lemis.com for PGP public key.
> See complete headers for address and phone numbers.
> This message is digitally signed.  If your Microsoft mail program
> reports problems, please read http://lemis.com/broken-MUA.php
> _______________________________________________
> COFF mailing list
> COFF@minnie.tuhs.org
> https://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/coff
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* [COFF] PL/1 [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation]
       [not found]   ` <CAEdTPBdVnPQMaDX0jOL81EkL1M7Eg=U4qWPwKMsr6SBc2Zz9vw@mail.gmail.com>
  2021-11-23 15:23     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Clem Cole
  2021-11-23 19:40     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Dan Cross
@ 2021-11-24  1:57     ` Nemo Nusquam
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 9+ messages in thread
From: Nemo Nusquam @ 2021-11-24  1:57 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: coff

Over to COFF...

On 2021-11-23 02:57, Henry Bent wrote:
> On Mon, 22 Nov 2021 at 21:31, Mary Ann Horton <mah@mhorton.net 
> <mailto:mah@mhorton.net>> wrote:
>
>     PL/I was my favorite mainframe programming language my last two
>     years as
>     an undergrad. I liked how it incorporated ideas from FORTRAN,
>     ALGOL, and
>     COBOL. My student job was to enhance a PL/I package for a History
>     professor.
>
>
> What language were the PL/I compilers written in?
 From AFIPS '69 (Fall): "The Multics compiler is the only PL/1 compiler 
written in PL/1 [...]"

HOPL I has a talk on the early history of PL/1 (born as NPL) but nothing 
on the question.

N.



>
> Wikipedia claims that IBM is still developing a PL/I compiler, which I 
> suppose I have no reason to disbelieve, but I'm very curious as to who 
> is using it and for what purpose.
>
> -Henry

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end of thread, other threads:[~2021-11-24  2:04 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 9+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
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2021-11-16 15:53   ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Adam Thornton
2021-11-16 18:54 ` [COFF] Joys of PL/I [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam
2021-11-16 19:40   ` Charles H Sauer
2021-11-16 20:20   ` Bakul Shah
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2021-11-23 15:23     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Clem Cole
2021-11-24  0:38       ` [COFF] Self-hosting languages (was: Book Recommendation) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2021-11-24  1:48         ` Brantley Coile
2021-11-23 19:40     ` [COFF] [TUHS] Book Recommendation Dan Cross
2021-11-24  1:57     ` [COFF] PL/1 [Was: Re: [TUHS] Book Recommendation] Nemo Nusquam

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