Talk on what a systems programming language needs to replace C

Russel Winder russel at
Thu Sep 5 09:58:50 UTC 2019

On Tue, 2019-09-03 at 22:40 +0000, Laeeth Isharc via Digitalmars-d wrote:
> On Tuesday, 27 August 2019 at 17:04:40 UTC, Russel Winder wrote:
> > My excuse is that I used C on PDP-11 and VAX-11,
> Like this one? :)

Seems like fun, but no.

I meant real physical PDP-11 (I can't remember if it was a 45 or a 70) with
tape drives various RK05 and a weird disk subsystem that presented as 4 *
RK05, and about 40 or so cheap VT100 emulating terminals. Also there was a
GT/44 (I think that was the designation it was a rack mounter PDP-11 with a
14" vector graphics display very suitable for playing Lunar Lander).

Octal was clearly the correct number base for all systems programming using a

Then we got a VAX-11 750 with three 20Mb drives (that looked like top loading
washing machines).

Huge upgrade as hexadecimal became the one true number base for all systems

It is left as an exercise for the reader to deduce or even infer why octal and
hexadecimal were so important in these different cases.

Dr Russel Winder      t: +44 20 7585 2200
41 Buckmaster Road    m: +44 7770 465 077
London SW11 1EN, UK   w:

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