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From: Henry Bent <>
Cc: TUHS main list <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] Ratfor revived!
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2021 17:23:12 -0500	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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On Wed, 1 Dec 2021 at 17:17, Deborah Scherrer <>

> All you folks revisiting the Software Tools should remember that there was
> an entire movement around the first book, based at Lawrence Berkeley Lab.
> The Software Tools group, an offshoot of Usenix, had about 2000 members.
> We created an almost-entire Unix environment based on a virtual operating
> system that we designed, inspired of course by Kernighan's ideas.  The
> collection was ported to over 50 operating systems, including some without
> file systems.   This is all still freely available, and stored with the
> Unix archives.
Could you provide a link to said environment, and suggest what sort of
machines it might have run on?  I probably have something here that will do
it, and I am very interested.


> On 12/1/21 12:59 PM, Clem Cole wrote:
> Arnold -- sounds fun.  Thank you!!!  I'll add it to my growing pile of
> things I want to play with at some point.   I too had a wonderful childhood
> experience with the SW tools.  Somebody had a number of them running on a
> VMS box when all we had was the VMS Fortran compiler, no C yet.
> I am curious why did you decide to use byacc?   I would have thought in a
> desire to modernize and make it more available on a modern system -- was
> there something in byacc that could not be done easily in bison?   To be
> honest, I had thought Robert Corbett did them both and bison was the
> successor to byacc, but I'm not a compiler guy - so I'm suspecting that
> there must be a difference/reason.   As I said, this is purely curiosity --
> an educational opportunity.
> Thanks again,
> Clem
> ᐧ
> On Wed, Dec 1, 2021 at 3:41 PM Arnold Robbins <> wrote:
>> Hi All.
>> Mainly for fun (sic), I decided to revive the Ratfor (Rational
>> Fortran) preprocessor.  Please see:
>> I started with the V6 code, then added the V7, V8 and V10 versions
>> on top of it. Each one has its own branch so that you can look
>> at the original code, if you wish. The man page and the paper from
>> the V7 manual are also included.
>> Starting with the Tenth Edition version, I set about to modernize
>> the code and get it to compile and run on a modern-day system.
>> (ANSI style declarations and function headers, modern include files,
>> use of getopt, and most importantly, correct use of Yacc yyval and
>> yylval variables.)
>> You will need Berkely Yacc installed as byacc in order to build it.
>> I have only touch-tested it, but so far it seems OK.  'make' runs in like
>> 2
>> seconds, really quick. On my Ubuntu Linux systems, it compiles with
>> no warnings.
>> I hope to eventually add a test suite also, if I can steal some time.
>> Before anyone asks, no, I don't think anybody today has any real use
>> for it.  This was simply "for fun", and because Ratfor has a soft
>> spot in my heart.  "Software Tools" was, for me, the most influential
>> programming book that I ever read.  I don't think there's a better
>> book to convey the "zen" of Unix.
>> Thanks,
>> Arnold

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  reply	other threads:[~2021-12-01 22:25 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 16+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-12-01 20:23 Arnold Robbins
2021-12-01 20:57 ` John Cowan
2021-12-01 20:59 ` Clem Cole
2021-12-01 21:14   ` Deborah Scherrer
2021-12-01 22:23     ` Henry Bent [this message]
2021-12-02  0:34       ` Clem Cole
2021-12-02  5:44         ` Henry Bent
2021-12-02 14:15           ` Clem Cole
2021-12-02 14:35             ` Brantley Coile
2021-12-02 14:49             ` arnold
2021-12-02 16:30           ` John Cowan
2021-12-01 22:43     ` Brantley Coile
2021-12-02  7:41     ` arnold
2021-12-02 18:34       ` Deborah Scherrer
2021-12-01 21:24   ` Thomas Paulsen
2021-12-02  7:34   ` arnold

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