The Importance of Terminology's Quality

Rob Warnock rpw3 at rpw3.org
Thu Aug 21 04:18:22 CEST 2008


Martin Gregorie  <martin at see.sig.for.address.invalid> wrote:
+---------------
| 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.
+---------------

In the LGP-30, they used hex addresses, sort of[1], but the opcodes
(all 16 of them) had single-letter mnemonics chosen so that the
low 4 bits of the character codes *were* the correct nibble for
the opcode!  ;-}

[Or you could type in the actual hex digits, since the low 4 bits
of *their* character codes were also their corresponding binary
nibble values... "but that would have been wrong".]


-Rob

[1] The LGP-30 character code was defined before the industry had
    yet standardized on a common "hex" character set, so instead of
    "0123456789abcdef" they used "0123456789fgjkqw". [The "fgjkqw"
    were some random characters on the Flexowriter keyboard whose low
    4 bits just happened to be what we now call 0xa-0xf]. Even worse,
    the sector addresses of instructions were *not* right-justified
    in the machine word (off by one bit), plus because of the shift-
    register nature of the accumulator you lost the low bit of each
    machine word when you typed in instructions (or read them from
    tape), so the address values you used in coding went up by *4*!
    That is, machine locations were counted [*and* coded, in both
    absolute machine code & assembler] as "0", "4", "8", "j", "10",
    "14", "18", "1j" (pronounced "J-teen"!!), etc.

-----
Rob Warnock			<rpw3 at rpw3.org>
627 26th Avenue			<URL:http://rpw3.org/>
San Mateo, CA 94403		(650)572-2607




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