Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (818 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] different types of shell scripts
Dave Howorth said the following on 09/22/2011 10:07 AM:

Hmm, UNIX was first named UNICS, named after MULTICS, from which it took
many features, including multiprocessing. As well as MULTICS, the
Burroughs MCP had parallel execution of tasks, as did ICL's GEORGE 3.
They all had job control languages too, and all in the 1960s before Unix
was conceived.

I've used Burroughs engines and George on a 1901/2.
Saying "job control language" is still not a 'shell' in the way Steve Bourne (another Brit) conceived of it. They were still line-oriented.
When they had decision/branching statements they were "interpreted" line by line, often be re-reading the file so they could GOTO a previous statement. Yes, I know, I worked on the code!

What made Steve's shell different was that he read in and tokenized the whole file (then closed it and forget about the source). Was this new? No; you can be anything in the computer field had already been pioneered at Manchester or Cambridge :-) In fact it was Professor Peter J Brown or Cambridge, later at UKC,
who published a lot on what were termed "throwaway interpreters"; he worked on them in 60s and 70s.
Once PJB game me an exercise. It was core-dump of the internal store for a throwaway compiler. I had to reverse engineer its format and work out what the OPCODEs were and create a new (even if very simple) program. We then used a core manipulation language to 'load' it an see if it would run. YAH! It worked! All that was on a 1901. Yes, I know web pages say "2900 series" but this was before the 2900 was installed.

Then and only then did he let us at the UNIX Release 5 machines ...

PJB was a great guy to work with and study with :-)
I still have his books; they are examples of clear writing.
Guide, the first significant hypertext system for personal computers, was developed by Peter J. Brown at UKC in 1982.

The history of computing contains a lot of reinventions of the wheel, as
new people join the party or new types of hardware are built. Virtual
memory and filestores are another area where it feels like groundhog day.

My current gripe is about NoSQL - and all the people who don't understand why we gave up on the NoSQL databases and moved to SQL in the 80s. Say CODASYL to these people, say ISAM, say IDS, say IMS (or other high performance database systems) ... they don't know what you are talking about, but they are wetting themselves demanding NoSQL.
"Key escrow to rule them all; key escrow to find them.
Key escrow to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
In the land of surveillance where Big Brother lies."
-- Peter Gutmann
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