[TUHS] The UNIX Command Language (1976)

Jim Capp jcapp at anteil.com
Wed Dec 2 01:09:14 AEST 2020

Is it possible the elimination of the GOTO statement in the Bourne Shell 
was related to a Letter to the Editor in Communications of the ACM, March 1968: 

"Go To Statement Considered Harmful," by E. Dijkstra. 


From: jason-tuhs at shalott.net 
To: tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org 
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2020 10:59:18 PM 
Subject: Re: [TUHS] The UNIX Command Language (1976) 

> "The UNIX Command Language is the first-ever paper published on the Unix 
> shell. It was written by Ken Thompson in 1976." 
> https://github.com/susam/tucl 

Thanks for that. 

This reminded me that the Thompson shell used goto for flow control, which 
I had forgotten. 

Bourne commented on the omission of goto from the Bourne shell, "I 
eliminated goto in favour of flow control primitives like if and for. 
This was also considered rather radical departure from the existing 

Was this decision contentious at all? Was there a specific reason for 
goto's exclusion in the Bourne shell? 


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