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Anecdotes: What is This, And, and That? Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129691D
Original Publication Date: 1991-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 15K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Roy R. Weil: AUTHOR [+2]


5131 Penton Road Pittsburgh, PA 15213 U.S.A.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Copyright ©; 1991 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Anecdotes: What is This, And, and That?

Roy R. Weil

5131 Penton Road Pittsburgh, PA 15213 U.S.A.

Twenty-five years ago, when the Carnegie Mellon Computer Science Department was just starting, some decided we ought to have names for our computer systems. Our fearless leader, the late Alan Perlis, fostered a free-thinking environment in which the usual contrived system names such as ALGOL, COBOL and FORTRAN were eschewn in favor of common, everyday panicles like IT, THAT, AND, WHAT and THEM THINGS.

THAT -- To Help Assemble Translators -- the machine language assembler for the Bendix Later CDC) G-20. It had most of the features of current translators like labels, relative addressing, mnemonic opcodes. It did not have macro abilities.

AND -- AlphaNumeric Director -- a batch processing line editor. It keyed on either the absolute line position in the file, or the characters in columns 73 to 80 for location of the card images to change.

One of the marks of a true hacker was the ability to run "AND- squared" -- jobs submitted as card decks had a two-day turnaround, whereas jobs submitted remotely via teletype would run in just a few hours. Since the teletypes were located remotely from the computer, it was often inconvenient to pick up new program listings. Unfortunately, if you edited your program and saved the result, the line numbers would change and your next set of edits might refer to the wrong line numbers. The solution: instead of committing the changes to your large program file, create a file of editing commands. This file of AND commands would -- for a while at least -- be short enough to list on the teletype, and you could get accurate line numbers. Then each job would include a set of AND commands to modify the file of AND commands,...