strange things to do with your IBM System/3x (was Re: ibm sys/36 5360 basic needed)

From: Eric Smith <>
Date: Fri Jan 24 20:14:00 2003

> I might, I'll have to check.. I know I have COBOL and SSP and some other
> crud...

When I was in junior high school, my friend Doug got a job working on RPG
code on a System/34. In his spare time, he translated ADVENT [*] from
PDP-10 Fortran to RPG II [**] to run on the System/34.

I don't know if there existed a Fortran compiler for the System/34, but
if there was, his employer apparently didn't have it. COBOL would
actually be a more reasonable language [***] into which to translate
ADVENT, and there was a System/34 COBOL compiler.

All of the text-handling code in ADVENT is non-portable, because back then
FORTRAN didn't have reasonable support for arrays of characters. The
number of characters that would pack into any given numeric type was
implementation-dependent. On the PDP-10, that was five 7-bit ASCII
characters per 36-bit word, with one bit left over.

I think Fortran 77 fixed this problem, by defining an actual CHARACTER

Unfortunately I haven't been in touch with Doug in over twenty years
now; I have no idea whether he still has a copy of his RPG ADVENT.
Which is a shame, because it would be nice to try it with the
Eraseerhead RPG II compiler, which is GPL'd:


[*] The original Colossal Cave Adventure game by Crowther and Woods,
    written in Fortran for the DEC PDP-10. Named "ADVENT" because
    the TOPS-10 operating system only allows for six-character filenames
    in SIXBIT code, which does not include lower case.

[**] Or maybe it was RPG III. I don't really know what was available
    on the System/34 back in the late 1970s.

[***} I'll bet you never expected to see "COBOL" and "reasonable language"
    in the same sentence, without an "isn't" between them. :-) Now I'm
    not saying that I *like* COBOL, but there are definitely some things
    that it is better-suited for than Fortran IV.
Received on Fri Jan 24 2003 - 20:14:00 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:36:02 BST