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From: Dan Halbert <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] A New History of Modern Computing - my thoughts
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2021 08:48:54 -0500	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On 11/28/21 6:35 PM, Adam Thornton wrote:
> Getting a bit far afield from Unixes, but A Quick Rundown Of 
> Instruction Sets I Have Known, more or less in the order I learned them:
> 6502: you never forget your first love, and, sure, it's constrained, 
> but it's elegant and concise and I still adore it.
> 68k: Lovely.  I used it before I ever used the PDP-11, but in 
> retrospect it's like the PDP-11 but more so.  Roomy, comfortable, 
> regular.  Too bad it lost to x86 in the marketplace.
> 8051: I mean, OK, I get it, you need a low-cost embedded architecture 
> and it's the 1980s, but...yuck.
> x86-and-descendents: the less said the better.  Maybe I just don't 
> like Intel's designs?
> SPARC: It's not bad.  Having lots of registers is nice. But by the 
> time it came along compilers were good enough that I never actually 
> needed to use it in anger.
> S/360-and-descendents: The S/360 is OK, even nice, in a very 1960s IBM 
> way.  And then its evolution just KEPT adding ever more baroque 
> filigrees onto it.  Don't get me wrong, I love SIE, because I love VM, 
> but even that is kind of a bag on the side, and by the time you get to 
> System z...this is what happens when you don't start over from a clean 
> sheet every so often.
> PDP-11: There's a very good reason it was used as a model architecture 
> in coursework for decades.  Also regular and comfortable.
> TI-99/4A (more or less TI 9900): I like microcode as much as anyone 
> but honestly this is pretty silly here, folks.

When I was in high school, I loved reading about instruction sets. I 
recommend the first five volumes of Annual Review in Automatic 
Programming, if you are interested.

The DEC instructions sets were all quite elegant, from the minimal PDP-8 
(nee PDP-5) 12-bit machine to the PDP-10 (nee 6). I maintained the BCPL 
compiler at BBN for a while in the 1970's, and it was a pleasure to 
figure out what machine code to generate.

Then there was RISC vs CISC, where the VAX was a major punching bag. I 
was at Berkeley for RISC-I, and was a part of the small student group 
that did its register windows scheme.

  parent reply	other threads:[~2021-11-29 14:01 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 29+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-11-28 23:12 Noel Chiappa
2021-11-28 23:35 ` Adam Thornton
2021-11-29  1:53   ` John Cowan
2021-11-29 13:48   ` Dan Halbert [this message]
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2021-11-28 20:26 Jon Steinhart
2021-11-28 21:07 ` Rob Pike
2021-11-28 21:15   ` Jon Steinhart
2021-11-28 21:31     ` Ken Thompson
2021-11-28 21:47       ` Jon Steinhart
2021-11-28 22:17         ` Rob Pike
2021-11-29  0:19           ` Clem Cole
2021-11-29  1:12             ` Larry McVoy
2021-11-29  2:23               ` Bakul Shah
2021-11-30 19:27                 ` Ralph Corderoy
2021-12-01  8:46                   ` Rich Morin
2021-12-01 12:28                     ` Al Kossow
2021-11-30  3:18               ` Larry McVoy
2021-11-29  1:18             ` George Michaelson
2021-11-29  1:36             ` Bakul Shah
2021-11-29  1:47       ` Bakul Shah
2021-11-29  7:46         ` arnold
2021-11-29  7:52           ` arnold
2021-11-29 14:44             ` Larry McVoy
2021-11-29 12:11         ` Michael Kjörling
2021-11-28 21:23   ` Thomas Paulsen
2021-11-28 21:39     ` Steve Nickolas
2021-11-28 22:41       ` Ron Natalie
2021-11-28 21:40   ` Larry McVoy
2021-11-29 15:37 ` Phil Budne

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