[Python-Dev] What were the complaints of binary code programmers that not accept Assembly?

françai s romapera15 at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 22:40:09 CEST 2015

Quote from: http://worrydream.com/dbx/

    Reactions to SOAP and Fortran
    Richard Hamming -- The Art of Doing Science and Engineering, p25 (pdf

    In the beginning we programmed in absolute binary... Finally, a
Symbolic Assembly Program was devised -- after more years than you are apt
to believe during which most programmers continued their heroic absolute
binary programming. At the time [the assembler] first appeared I would
guess about 1% of the older programmers were interested in it -- using
[assembly] was "sissy stuff", and a real programmer would not stoop to
wasting machine capacity to do the assembly.

    Yes! Programmers wanted no part of it, though when pressed they had to
admit their old methods used more machine time in locating and fixing up
errors than the [assembler] ever used. One of the main complaints was when
using a symbolic system you do not know where anything was in storage --
though in the early days we supplied a mapping of symbolic to actual
storage, and believe it or not they later lovingly pored over such sheets
rather than realize they did not need to know that information if they
stuck to operating within the system -- no! When correcting errors they
preferred to do it in absolute binary.

    FORTRAN was proposed by Backus and friends, and again was opposed by
almost all programmers. First, it was said it could not be done. Second, if
it could be done, it would be too wasteful of machine time and capacity.
Third, even if it did work, no respectable programmer would use it -- it
was only for sissies!

    John von Neumann's reaction to assembly language and Fortran
    John A.N. Lee, Virginia Polytechnical Institute

    John von Neumann, when he first heard about FORTRAN in 1954, was
unimpressed and asked "why would you want more than machine language?" One
of von Neumann's students at Princeton recalled that graduate students were
being used to hand assemble programs into binary for their early machine.
This student took time out to build an assembler, but when von Neumann
found out about it he was very angry, saying that it was a waste of a
valuable scientific computing instrument to use it to do clerical work.

Because 1% of the older programmers that did not accept to use Assembly
changed their minds about the Assembly?

Because the older programmers think that using [assembly] was "sissy
stuff", and a real programmer would not stoop to wasting machine capacity
to do the assembly?

What were all the complaints of binary code programmers that did not accept
to use Assembly?

John Von Neumann changed his mind about the Assembly and Fortran?
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