[TUHS] A/UX [was Linux is on-topic]

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Fri Aug 14 06:04:22 AEST 2020

On Thu, Aug 13, 2020 at 1:19 PM Henry Bent <henry.r.bent at gmail.com> wrote:

so this damn teeny tiny display would cycle through a sequence of codes
>> that told you what the machine was doing; it came with a book that told you
>> what each code meant. Something like "387" meant mounting /usr. Ugh; I just
>> found a page on ibm.com describing these "IPL codes."
IPL = Initial Program Load = boot(strap), by the way.  It also has the
connotations of "toggle in".

Seated one day at the keyboard
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers rattled noisily
Over the clicking keys

I know not what I was coding
Nor what I had IPLed in
But I struck one chord of logic
Like the sound of a great IF-THEN.
    --Guy Steele (I think)

But this reminded me: Does anyone remember a system of any sort where there
were *two* corresponding sets of alphanumeric error codes, one short and
meaningless like F32 and the other somewhat meaningful like POWER_LOW?  I
made up this example, but I have a feeling I saw or read about such
a system.  I can't pin it down with Dr. Google.

I already know about plenty of systems that have *numbers* and alphabetics,
like <errno.h>, or just alphabetics and a (localizable) text explanation,
like VMS, or just a number and a text explanation, like the BIOS errors.

Such number-only error systems are still very common in things like "smart"
washing machines, where the cost and unreliability of a non-tiny screen
simply isn't acceptable.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Wer es in kleinen Dingen mit der Wahrheit nicht ernst nimmt, dem kann
man auch in grossen Dingen nicht vertrauen.  --Albert Einstein on honesty
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