[TUHS] Etymology of bc(1)

Warner Losh imp at bsdimp.com
Sat Sep 13 03:18:13 AEST 2014

On Sep 12, 2014, at 11:12 AM, scj at yaccman.com wrote:

> 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
> machines.
> 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...

Sure beat the heck out of trying to get overlays right. I remember “fondly”
trying to get the overlay layout manager working to get the FORTRAN programs
I was writing at the time to fit into 64k (or was it 48k). Switching from the PDP-11
to the VAX was a godsend and all that moved into the kernel and got way simpler
from the user perspective…


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