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BIOS Reaching Its Limits

 
 
Enkidu
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      08-13-2010
On 13/08/10 17:18, Matty F wrote:
> On Aug 13, 9:13 am, Enkidu<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> On 12/08/10 21:41, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

>
>>> Did you not have makefiles? Automated build systems?

>>
>> >

>> Compile and link decks. In those days programs were smaller and the
>> overhead of recompiling everything was not high. Makefiles sprung out of
>> the need to compile everything and in particular the kernel (if an OS
>> had one) which is a different category of problem to compiling a program.

>
> "the need to compile everything"? Why not instead have an unlimited
> number of separately compiled modules that call each other at runtime
> with no linking needed?
> If you compile a module, that's probably because the source has been
> changed, in which case the editor knows everything it needs to know
> (i.e. the module name) in order to call the compiler, without a
> makefile being needed.
>

I meant "the need to *not* compile everything, particularly the kernel",
which in the old days used to take all night. Even a relatively
function-free word processor used to take hours.

Hence, makefiles that allow conditional complilation and linking.

Cheers,

Cliff

--

The ends justifies the means - Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

The end excuses any evil - Sophocles
 
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Matty F
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      08-13-2010
On Aug 13, 4:41 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message
> <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F
> wrote:
>
> > On Aug 12, 9:41 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand>
> > wrote:

>
> >> Did you not have makefiles? Automated build systems?

>
> > Certainly not. Why the heck would I want those? In the last system I
> > worked on, an application could typically have thousands of separately
> > compiled modules, although there was no real limit to the size of the
> > application.
> > A module could be compiled in a few seconds. No linking process was
> > needed. There was an option to automatically go to a test process
> > after the compile.
> > Like I said, we are in different computing universes. I'm not trying
> > to sell anything, but what we did worked extremely well for some 30
> > years and is still working.

>
> Sounds like you were operating in a very closed system, with very simple
> build needs, like not needing to cross-compile for different architectures,
> run under different OSes etc.
>
> How did you manage version control?


I've been away from the developers for many years, so I don't know how
they do things these days. In the beginning each company had the OS
running on a single mainframe, with a hundred or more monitors
attached. They usually had another machine as a backup. This was
sometimes an entirely different architecture, e.g. a PC as a backup
for a VAX. All object code and data was identical on all machines and
was interpreted. Almost all of the system software (e,g, compiler,
editor, security) was written in the same language as the application
data.
Most application software was packages that the user could tailor to
do what they wanted. There were seldom new versions as the software
was reasonably bug-free after many years. God knows what it looks like
to run, but it is running in many large companies around the world. I
don't think those companies know what's really running on ther
computers.
 
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Lawrence D'Oliveiro
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      08-23-2010
In message
<(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F
wrote:

> On Aug 13, 4:41 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand>
> wrote:
>
>> How did you manage version control?

>
> There were seldom new versions as the software was reasonably bug-free
> after many years.


But it took many years to reach that point. How did you manage in the
meantime?

 
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Matty F
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      08-23-2010
On Aug 23, 1:07 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
> In message
> <(E-Mail Removed)>, Matty F
> wrote:
>
> > On Aug 13, 4:41 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <(E-Mail Removed)_zealand>
> > wrote:

>
> >> How did you manage version control?

>
> > There were seldom new versions as the software was reasonably bug-free
> > after many years.

>
> But it took many years to reach that point. How did you manage in the
> meantime?


Each package was written for a particular customer and paid for
entirely by them (millions of dollars) when their system went live.
There may have been a few tiny bugs that needed fixing, so the program
modules affected would have been sent and loaded to their database. No
linking was needed. All systems were designed to be sold as packages
driven by control files. The user who had paid origninally got a nice
income from royalties - in one case they got back twice what they had
paid.

I was once called in urgently one weeked to fix an editing error in a
Wellington system that I'd never seen before. The programmers of that
had gone on holiday. It was a stocktake program and it didn't allow
nil stock. I managed to fix the error in Auckland and I put it in the
Wellington database and deleted the old version from the memory of
their computer. Around 40 users were sitting in that program at the
time, and suddenly the program worked for them. I had to make sure
that I didn't shift the location of the point where they were waiting
for input. That may sound dodgy but Iwas used to recompiling the
compiler while people were using it. I only had a problem once!

When a major change was needed in a user's system an entire copy would
be made and the top two characters of all program names would be
altered. So we could have over 900 copies of a system, source and
object.

System programs always had the version number as the top two
characters. We could have many copies of the operating system in the
database,and flip backwards and forwards between versions until the
new version was proved to work.
 
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