VAX/VMS Pascal, Modula-3, Oberon, what could have been....

Mark Wickens mark at
Wed Nov 2 18:47:36 CDT 2016

This is a photo of myself (and the extremely more capable Matt) 'in the 
programming zone':

On 11/2/2016 11:38 PM, Mark Wickens wrote:
> I recently discovered the very excellent website 
> devoted to all things Wirth.
> I sent a message to the author, as detailed below, but I would 
> encourage anyone to visit the website - you will surely learn something?
> Greetings from Windermere in the Lake District, England!
> I read with interest your interview with John Reagan. His efforts on 
> the VAX Pascal Compiler, and more recently (well, in the last few 
> years or so) my discovery of the very excellent Theo De Klerk book on 
> VAX Pascal and it's excellent integration with the VMS operating 
> system have rekindled my love of this excellent implementation of Pascal.
> I am the organiser of - a 'mostly' annual event here 
> in Windermere where collectors of DEC equipment and ex-employees 
> gather to immerse themselves once again in the excellence of product 
> that was the result of DEC Engineering. I have tried a couple of times 
> to 'entice' John to provide a video narrative of his time at DEC - 
> but, thankfully, he is still a very busy man.
> At DEC Legacy this time around for example I was very fortunate to 
> find myself in the 'programming zone' for a couple of hours - sat at a 
> VT terminal, trying to determine why my VAX Macro-32 fractal 
> generation programme would not run successfully on a DEC Alpha via the 
> VAX Macro Compiler. For those precious moments I could have been sat 
> at a piece of DEC equipment anywhere in the world. For a programmer 
> this is just intoxicating and all too rare these days.
> I have a long standing interest in the legacy of Wirth - and indeed 
> DEC, as could be expected. When I was considering a programming 
> language for my PhD efforts on a DEC 3000/600 AXP running Digital Unix 
> 3.2C in 1994 I would have been better using Modula-3 and ignoring the 
> C-based Khoros framework which was the path I eventual took (C was a 
> 'better the devil you know' option at that point).

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