6 char externs and the ANSI standard

Kevin Martin kpmartin at watmath.UUCP
Sun Nov 18 07:12:56 AEST 1984

>Sorry, I lost the intermediate author... It was whoever that is who likes
>clearing his throat before typing...
>>In article <9477 at watmath.UUCP> atbowler at watmath.UUCP (Alan T. Bowler) writes:
>>> ... The fact remains that the loader format is the single hardest thing
>>> to change on a system. ...
>>Harumph.  That's called lack of foresight.  I seriously doubt those 3
>>complete rewrites took place on a "let's rewrite the OS from scratch"
>>basis.  More likely it got done piece by piece.
Sorry, you lose. They were all re-writes, essentially top to bottom.
Only (some of) the module names remain.

I think the older manufacturers are more likely to fix their loaders if
they can first sell an "ANSI standard C compiler" using the current loader.
When customers start complaining that the brain damaged loader doesn't
let them bring in programs from other systems, they might actually fix it.

On the other hand, the manufacturers would also be quite happy NOT to have
an ANSI standard C (if this would require re-writing the loader). Then no one
buys it, and it never gets fixed.

Sort of two "vicious" circles... which one you get depends on whether the
initial compiler can be called "standard-conforming".

Perhaps the standard should require minimum 6 char caseless externals,
but the implementation of anything less than arbitrary length case-distinct
is, as they say, 'deprecated'
              Kevin Martin, UofW Software Development Group.

P.S. The Random House College Dictionary defines:
dep-re-cate: v.t. 1. To express earnest disapproval of.
   2. To protest against (a scheme, purpose, etc.).
   3. to depreciate or belittle.
   4. (archaic) to pray for deliverance from.
[ From the latin, deprecat(us), "prayed against, warded off" ]

I often find the 4th definition appropriate :-)

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