[TUHS] Etymology of bc(1)

scj at yaccman.com scj at yaccman.com
Sat Sep 13 03:12:39 AEST 2014

A gentle reminder that in that era, 4K words of memory cost in the 5
digits of $'s, and many Unix machines had far less than the 64K bytes
(yes, K) that was the maximum.  And there was no paging.  Piping was kind
of a poor man's paging to write programs that would work on small-memory

While there were benefits, it was also a big pain, especially when
debugging.  And for the most part, we abandoned this style when we got
32-bit machines that had as much as a (gasp!) megabyte of memory...


>> Dave Horsfall scripsit:
>> > Perhaps so, but I was a bit surprised that FreeBSD (and I include the
>> Mac
>> > in that) totally rewrote it from a Posix draft, and dropped the pipe.
>> So did GNU.

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