Patching vs. new code (was Re: Pascal not considered harmful)

Ian S. King isking at
Wed Mar 4 00:11:54 CST 2015

On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 9:40 PM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at> wrote:

> On 02/23/2015 09:17 PM, Ian S. King wrote:
>  My first (paid) programming job was in 6800 assembler, using the Motorola
>> EXORCISER system.  It took hours (as in a major part of a day, longer than
>> the work day) to reassemble the entire code base, so we would patch the
>> program in the PROM programmer.  We would, of course, back port the
>> changes
>> in symbolic assembler to the source, and every few days just take the
>> downtime hit to rebuild the code base.  Keep in mind that this was
>> natively
>> hosted on a 6800 system.
> Well, I *know* that there was a cross-assembler for 6800 code.  Even a
> moderately small minicomputer would outpace a 6800.
> Patching is okay, as long as it doesn't become permanent.  I have a memory
> of 7080 COBOL production programs patched with Autocoder object.  Of
> course, nobody knew exactly what the patches did.
> One of the very good reasons to run legacy programs on emulation.
> I'm certain there are thousands of these stories.
> --Chuck
> Yes, a cross-assembler would have run faster and provided better OS
support (!) than the EXORciser, but the Powers That Be hadn't thought of
that.  <sigh>

And patching was accompanied by *hand-written* notes on an "authoritative"
printed listing.  Every so often we'd incorporate all the patches back into
the sources and run a new "authoritative" build.  Since the EXORciser
monitor didn't spool its output, the printer's speed was the limiting
factor - so a build would take HOURS.

Those were the days….  -- Ian

Ian S. King, MSIS, MSCS, Ph.D. Candidate
The Information School <>

Archivist, Voices From the Rwanda Tribunal <>
Value Sensitive Design Research Lab <>

University of Washington

There is an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China."

More information about the cctalk mailing list