[TUHS] The most surprising Unix programs

Andy Kosela akosela at andykosela.com
Tue Mar 17 23:30:25 AEST 2020

On 3/17/20, ca6c at firemail.cc <ca6c at firemail.cc> wrote:
> Doug McIlroy wrote:
>> dc
>> The math library for Bob Morris's variable-precision desk calculator
>> used backward error analysis to determine the precision necessary at
>> each step to attain the user-specified precision of the result. In
>> my software-components talk at the 1968 NATO conference on software
>> engineering, I posited measurement-standard routines, which could
>> deliver
>> results of any desired precision, but did not know how to design one.
>> dc
>> still has the only such routines I know of.
> dc, along with ed and I guess awk if we can put it here, is one of my
> favorite Unix programs that I use daily.  I don't even have a "normal"
> calculator installed.  It just smells like Unix.
> There is something sexy about reverse Polish notation.  I really do
> encourage everyone reading this to try dc as their "desk calculator"
> for some time.

So you probably also love Forth, a very underrated language...


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