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Re: Burrough's Algol Compiler

I knew Greg from my assembly language class at UD, on the PDP-11/45.  I
still have some DECtapes from that class.  Greg was my reference when I got
hired at Digital.

-----Original Message-----
From: Aron Insinga <ainsinga@infomation.com>
To: deltoids@mcws.net <deltoids@mcws.net>
Date: Monday, June 29, 1998 12:01 PM
Subject: Re: Burrough's Algol Compiler

>As I recall, there were only 2 Burroughs machines in academic settings, UD
>(I think the computer center director, John Falcone?, used to work for
>and of course the CS department loved a machine that actually used
>(Extended) ALGOL) and the other was somewhere in California (or maybe
>Australia?).  [The EE department was none too thrilled by a machine that
>didn't do FORTRAN as well, not to mention how the computer center
>was run, like counting as uptime the time when the CPU was up but the
>I/O Processor was down, or giving resources to Data Processing instead of
>academic work when resources were limited -- that sharing of resources
>between DP & academic work was a big item of general philosophy in
>the EE department.]
>They had quite a few security problems because they hadn't been tested much
>in such an environment.  For example: The compiler checked the user's
>and, if the user wasn't allowed to do privileged operations, it wouldn't
set the
>executable bit for the file.  (As opposed to checking the user's privileges
>run-time.)  But it still gave you the object code.  They also trusted the
>bit that came off of a magtape.  So Greg Hostler wrote a program to do
>like create accounts, compiled it, put it onto magtape, took it to a
certain PDP-11
>running an operating system that had very flexible magtape handling,
>copied the tape, setting the executable bit, copied the program back to
>on the B-6700, and *viola!*.  When they disabled his account, he borrowed
>else's and reenabled it.  I guess Burroughs tried hard to hire him, but he
went to work
>for DEC.  (I had heard that he left DEC after his fiance dumped him, but I
>know what happened to him after that.)  He also ported an Extended ALGOL
>compiler to the PDP-11.  (He wrote an interpreter for the stack machine
>I think.) DECUS had it.
>And speaking of power problems, when the B-7700 was installed, the
>processor was plugged into a mis-wired socket and some boards became fuses,
>but not before some of the current got back into something else, the I/O
>probably.  Dan said to not laugh, he'd seen DEC boards do the same thing.
>It was amazing to see the etch literally blown off of a PC card.
>- Aron
>>From: "Gary L. Luckenbaugh" <garyll@ibm.net>
>>To: <deltoids@mcws.net>
>>Subject: Burrough's Algol Compiler
>>Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 16:43:57 -0400
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>>Clark Baker writes in his memoirs, "George and I did a reasonable amount
>>hacking in ALGOL on the B5500 and later on the B6700. The systems
>>programming on these computers was done in a dialect of ALGOL and we
>>to learn all about that. The computer center folks weren't too happy with
>>our interest. "
>>By a strange quirk of fate, I ran into the Product Manager for the old
>>Burrough's Algol compiler a couple of months ago.  I was at a Lockheed
>>Martin meeting in Valley Forge, and had dinner with a guy who was speaking
>>at the same meeting as me.  When I asked him about his "heritage" (a
>>Lockheed Martin term for, "Where did you work before Lockheed Martin
>>acquired you?") he told me he had started at Burroughs, merged with
>>was sold to Loral, and merged with Lockheed Martin.  When I asked him what
>>he did at Burrough's he said he was the Product Manager of the B5500/B6700
>>Algol compiler years ago.  He was very familiar with the UofD and said
>>were his best customer.