Classic programming

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Sun Aug 9 10:39:47 CDT 2015

> On Aug 9, 2015, at 11:31 AM, Noel Chiappa <jnc at> wrote:
>> From: Johnny Billquist
>> And one should not forget Algol.
> IIRC, Algol is mentioned in the paper I linked to. Of course, Algol's DNA is
> in pretty much every procedural language ever created since it was.

Algol 60, that is.  It was used as the inspiration by just about everything that followed, sometimes very clearly and cleanly (Pascal, Modula), sometimes less so (C).  And sometimes a designer created a total botch based on gross misunderstanding of Algol (Jovial).

Algol 68 is a very different and much more complex language.  It didn’t go far and wasn’t nearly as influential, though Arne Stroustrup mentions its influence on C++ (and this is pretty obvious when you look at C++ stream I/O).

>> From: Andy Holt
>> (and, for that matter, PL/1 should probably be considered an unsung
>> inspiration for C as it was the implementation language for Multics
>> in which Bell labs was a partner and must have inspired at least
>> the name for Unix)
> The paper also mentions PL/I - IIRC, they (Ken, Dennis et al) had used it on
> Multics, and didn't like it. (Which I can understand!) I'm not sure there are
> any ideas from PL/I (specifically) which influenced C.

PL/I also has the distinction (so to speak) of being the only programming language in history with a formal description more difficult to understand (by a large margin, in fact) than the one used in Algol 68.


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