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From: "Thomas Paulsen" <>
To: "Rob Pike" <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] A New History of Modern Computing - my thoughts
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2021 22:23:09 +0100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

I heard that the null terminated string was a 11-build-in.
--- ------------------------------

Is there a symbiosis between C and the PDP-11 instruction set? The
machine was vital to C and Unix's success, but primarily due to the
availability of a department-sized machine. Was the instruction set a
significant component? Most Unix programmers wrote little to no
assembly, although perhaps more read what came out of the compiler.
But did it matter? Auto-increment and -decrement are often cited in
this story, but they are not that important, really, and were around
well before the PDP-11 made its appearance.

I'm curious to hear arguments on either side.


On Mon, Nov 29, 2021 at 7:29 AM Jon Steinhart <> wrote:

> Eugene Miya visited by last week and accidentally left his copy of the

> book here so I decided to read it before he came back to pick it up.

> My overall impression is that while it contained a lot of information,

> it wasn't presented in a manner that I found interesting.  I don't know

> the intended target audience, but it's not me.
> A good part of it is that my interest is in the evolution of technology.

> I think that a more accurate title for the book would be "A New
> of the Business of Modern Computing".  The book was thorough in
> the number of each type of machine sold and how much money was made,
> that's only of passing interest to me.  Were it me I would have just

> summarized all that in a table and used the space to tell some engaging

> anecdotes.
> There were a number of things that I felt the book glossed over or missed

> completely.
> One is that I didn't think that they gave sufficient credit to the symbiosis

> between C and the PDP-11 instruction set and the degree to which the
> was enormously influential.
> Another is that I felt that the book didn't give computer graphics adequate

> treatment.  I realize that it was primarily in the workstation market
> which was not as large as some of the other segments, but in my opinion
> development of the technology was hugely important as it eventually
> commodified and highly profitable.
> Probably due to my personal involvement I felt that the book missed
> important steps along the path toward open source.  In particular, it
> the IPO of Red Hat as the seminal moment while not even mentioning the
> of Cygnus.  My opinion is that Cygnus was a huge icebreaker in the adoption

> of open source by the business world, and that the Red Hat IPO was just
> culmination.
> I also didn't feel that there was any message or takeaways for readers.
> didn't get any "based on all this I should go and do that"
sort of feeling.
> If the purpose of the book was to present a dry history then it pretty
> did it's job.  Obviously the authors had to pick and choose what to
> about and I would have made some different choices.  But, not my book.

> Jon

  parent reply	other threads:[~2021-11-28 21:25 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 29+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
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 [this message]
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
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

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