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From: Adam Thornton <>
To: The Eunuchs Hysterical Society <>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] A New History of Modern Computing - my thoughts
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 2021 16:35:01 -0700	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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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.

These days I'm kinda sorta poking at RISC-V and ARM.  Not that I need to,
but they seem nifty.


On Sun, Nov 28, 2021 at 4:15 PM Noel Chiappa <>

>     > The ++ operator appears to have been.
> One would expect that most people on this list would have read "The
> Development of the C Language", by Dennis Ritchie, which makes perfectly
> clear
> (at 'More History') that the PDP-11 had nothing to do with it:
>   Thompson went a step further by inventing the ++ and -- operators, which
>   increment or decrement; their prefix or postfix position determines
> whether
>   the alteration occurs before or after noting the value of the operand.
> They
>   were not in the earliest versions of B, but appeared along the way.
> People
>   often guess that they were created to use the auto-increment and
>   auto-decrement address modes provided by the DEC PDP-11 on which C and
> Unix
>   first became popular. This is historically impossible, since there was no
>   PDP-11 when B was developed.
> thereby alleviating the need for Ken to chime in (although they do allow a
> very efficient implementation of it).
> Too much to hope for, I guess.
>      Noel

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  reply	other threads:[~2021-11-28 23:37 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 [this message]
2021-11-29  1:53   ` John Cowan
2021-11-29 13:48   ` Dan Halbert
  -- 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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