Problems with FORT and ALGOL in TSS/8

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Fri Dec 4 09:17:26 CST 2020

> On Dec 4, 2020, at 12:38 AM, Josh Dersch via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 3, 2020 at 6:13 PM Kevin Jordan via cctalk <
> cctalk at> wrote:
>> ...
>> The problem we're experiencing with ALGOL appears to be a glaring compiler
>> bug, but the compiler was distributed widely through DECUS, and it is
>> difficult to imagine that it would have been released with an obvious bug,

DECUS just distributed what it was given; there is no QA or review process.  If the author submitted bad code, nothing DECUS would  do would get in the way.

> ....  We suspect that this compiler just has a lot of bugs.
> Note also that Appendix E (page E-1) suggests that ALL 'END' statements be
> followed by a ";".  This seemed to help at least with getting the compiler
> to stop giving us errors.  Note that despite this suggestion, the examples
> in Appendix E fail to follow this guideline.

That's certainly a pretty bizarre suggestion.  It's legal code either way, but in ALGOL (and PASCAL) semicolon is a separator, NOT a terminator, and the suggestion makes it appear that the authors don't understand the language well enough to know this.  That clearly isn't a recipe for a reliable compiler.

I thought ALGOL-11 (by Barry Folsom) was derived from ALGOL-8.  Maybe that's a different ALGOL-8, or maybe I'm just confused.  That ALGOL looks like a subset of Burroughs extended ALGOL.


More information about the cctalk mailing list