[TUHS] 2.11BSD cross compiler

Larry McVoy lm at bitmover.com
Wed Sep 29 12:38:19 AEST 2010

On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 10:14:09PM -0400, John Cowan wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 28, 2010 at 8:51 PM, Larry McVoy <lm at bitmover.com> wrote:
> > There is close zero chance I'll ever use this stuff, unless I retire
> > to teaching in which case I'll make people write PDP-11 assembler.
> That seems a tad archaic.  MIPS might be a better choice; it's 32-bit
> with 32 registers, and there are excellent simulators for it.

Color me old school.  I like MIPS, I worked at SGI (got married to
an old school MIPS gal) but PDP-11 is so frigging intuitive.  How
can you not understand that instruction set?  If you can't, well,
sorry, not so much in my book.  It's like a stripped down C.

Come on - has anyone ever seen a better instruction set?  More 
complicated, yeah, holy moly, yeah.  But cleaner?  We owe DEC
for that one.

That said, John is, as always, (probably) right.  He's certainly right
if we are talking about skills that go to today's market, PDP-11 is not
so much.  I said "probably" because I suspect there are some people for
whom the light will go on if they do PDP-11 assembler but not so much
on MIPS.

Personally, I like anyone who can do any assembler.  One of my interview
questions is "have you written swtch?"  If you don't get the question
you are not an OS person, if you are, of course you get it.  In any
assembler (I wrote it in VAX, M68K, NS32032 though that last one was
wishful thinking - I still wish that one hadn't been so buggy).

All this late night rambling aside, +1 on the efforts of Nick, +1 on
anyone who groks PDP-11 assembly.  Those are soon to be lost skills
and I admire them.  Had a TA who could read octal dumps just like they
were C.  Ken Witte - wonder where he is now.  I used to bribe him with
a six pack to come over and help me and he'd have a beer in his hand
and the line printer output in the other and be laughing at me for some
retarded thing I had done that he figured out from the octal.
Larry McVoy                lm at bitmover.com           http://www.bitkeeper.com

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