The Importance of Terminology's Quality

Martin Gregorie martin at see.sig.for.address.invalid
Mon Aug 18 11:33:44 CEST 2008

On Sun, 17 Aug 2008 22:30:35 -0400, John W Kennedy wrote:

> I said "machine language" and I meant it.
OK - I haven't touched that since typing ALTER commands into the console 
of a 1903 running the UDAS executive or, even better, patching the 
executive on the hand switches.

I was fascinated, though by the designs of early assemblers: I first 
learnt Elliott assembler, which required the op codes to be typed on 
octal but used symbolic labels and variable names. Meanwhile a colleague 
had started on a KDF6 which was the opposite - op codes were mnemonics 
but all addresses were absolute and entered in octal. I always wondered 
about the rationale of the KDF6 assembler writers in tackling only the 
easy part of the job.

> Even shops that used assembler nevertheless frequently did bug fixes as
> machine-language patches, rather than take the time to run the assembler
> again. (SPS, the non-macro basic assembler, ran at about 70 lines a
> minute, tops.)
Even a steam powered 1901 (3.6 uS for a half-word add IIRC) running a 
tape based assembler was faster than that. It could just about keep up 
with a 300 cpm card reader.

martin@   | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org       |

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