Classic programming

Robert Jarratt robert.jarratt at
Sun Aug 9 11:47:24 CDT 2015

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cctalk [mailto:cctalk-bounces at] On Behalf Of Paul Koning
> Sent: 09 August 2015 16:40
> To: General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts
> Cc: jnc at
> Subject: Re: Classic programming
> > 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.

I used to like Algol68, and got to play with an implementation called Algol68C on a DECSYSTEM-20 in the late 70s. Occasionally I ask if anyone has got the media for it, I still live in hope. I think there are some other implementations around, I should make the effort to try one some time.



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