[Chicago] Good readings on the history of computing

Yarko Tymciurak yarkot1 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 26 05:51:29 CEST 2013

On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:23 PM, Martin Maney <maney at two14.net> wrote:

> On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 08:00:01AM -0700, kirby urner wrote:
> > Good computer history and a classic worth collecting (I don't have it):
> >
> > 'Computer Lib / Dream Machines' by Ted Nelson.
> I hope I still have the copy I got back in the seventies - amazingly
> weird, fun book.
> Three titles I've learned from and enjoyed over the decades:
> Yourdon's _Classics in Software Engineering_ (which has been passing
> in and out of print at odd intervals) is an amazing collection of true
> foundational works, from "Gotos Considered Harmful" to the classic
> paper that presents the case for using only a few flow control
> structures (Bohm & Jacopini, I think; the title escapes me).  And
> Knuth's joyfully contrary "Structured Programming with Goto
> Statements"  And much more.
> Bentley's _Programming Pearls_ is a slim volume (and "More ..." is even
> thinner) and filled with gems from the famous ACM column.  As long as
> I've already crammed two titles under this heading, I shall complete
> the trifecta by mentioning "Writing Efficient Programs" by the same
> author.

Yeah - Jon was great, as were his articles (insight); I'll second that!

> Okay, that triple crown has thrown me off... which did I have in mind
> for number three?  Kernighan & Plauger's _Software Tools_ was a huge
> influence, but does anyone actually still use FORTRAN?  I can't be as
> enthused about the Pascal rewrite, it seemed to spend so much more of
> its effort fighting the severe limitations of standard/portable Pascal,

I never had trouble w/ that Software Tools (think I still have mine) - it
for when no one had C yet, so it was RATFOR, which looks enough like C,
that is - is Algol-ish enough that it doesn't matter (to me, much)... so...
 good enough!

> a language I've never cared for much.  Or Plauger's _Programming on
> Purpose_, another book that collects the best of a series of columns.

Yep... remember that too...

But nothing beat just running a unix 6 source distribution, and digging
into it, and the compiler code...

(Miss you,  Dennis...)

But - wait!  The other half of that fantastic duo is at it w/ golang.

Anyone want to rewrite CPython in go?  (just half-kidding!)

> At least I think that was the title, I can't seem to find it now... Or
> maybe I meant to have a token Object Oriented title, which would be
> _Smalltalk-80: The Language and its Implementation_, without which I
> would have been confused for years by C++'s weirdly warped notion of
> what OOP was all about.
> So many books, so little time!  Hey, Guido, is that time machine busy
> this weekend?
> --
> Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity
> of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity
> of the loser is perfectly clear.  It is the nation's confidence
> in the judge as an impartial guardian of the law.
>  - Justice John Paul Stevens, from his dissenting opinion Dec 12, 2000
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