[TUHS] where did "main" come from?

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sat May 23 07:52:17 AEST 2020

It's interesting, I was thinking about this the other day too.   I
remember talking about the 'main program' in Fortran when I was learning.
I never thought about it when I saw it in C, other than, ok that's how you
pass command line args, which I thought was really clean.   I remember TOPS
and TSS you had to go rummaging around to get to them.

As for your BCPL question, START() was way I learned it.  I think I first
saw it on the 360s or maybe the 1108; but really never did much it until I
saw the first Altos.


On Fri, May 22, 2020 at 2:53 PM Lawrence Stewart <stewart at serissa.com>

> C main programs define “main”.
> This also seems to be true of B main programs, according to the
> Johnson/Kernighan manual
> The 1967 Martin Richards BCPL manual doesn’t explain how programs get
> started
> The 1974 update from Martin Richards says there should be an OS addendum
> that explains this.
> The 1974 University of Essex BCPL manual says to use START
> The 1979 Parc Alto BCPL manual uses Main and I think that must be
> unchanged from 1972.
> The AMSTRAD BCPL guide from 1986 uses start()
> So who started “main” and when?  I can’t find an online copy of the Bell
> Laboratories BCPL manual (Canaday/Thompson) from 1969 or anything about how
> to use BCPL on Multics or CTSS.
> -L
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