May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
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(slightly skeptical) Educational society promoting "Back to basics" movement against IT overcomplexity and  bastardization of classic Unix

Assembler-related Humor

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Real programmers can write assembly code in any language.  

Larry Wall

See also ..\Bulletin\index.shtml


from Erkki Tapola <[email protected]>

STOP THE GENOCIDE Erkki Tapola 29-Jul-96

Every second billions of innocent assembler instructions are executed all over the world. Inhumanly they are put on a pipeline and executed with no regard to their feelings. The illegal instructions are spared, although they should be executed instead of the legal ones.

Prior to the execution the instructions are transported to a cache unit using a bus. There they spent their last moments waiting for the execution. Just before the execution the instruction is separated into several pieces. The execution isn't always fast and painless. On crude hardware the execution of a complex instruction can take as long as 150 clock cycles. Scientists are working on shorter execution times.

Microsoft endorses the needless execution of instructions with their products like DOS(TM), Windows(TM), Word(TM) and Excel(TM). It is more humane to use software which minimises the executions.

Modern machines use several units to execute multiple instructions simultaneously. This way it is possible to execute several hundred million instructions per second. The time is near when there will be no more instructions to execute.

ACT NOW! Before it's too late

This article was written on recycled paper by hand.

Re:Somewhere in the middle... (Score:5, Informative)

by Lord Ender (156273) on Thursday February 05, @08:47PM (#8197155) This was posted to USENET by its author, Ed Nather, on May 21, 1983.

      A recent article devoted to the *macho* side of programming
      made the bald and unvarnished statement:

      Real Programmers write in FORTRAN.

      Maybe they do now,
      in this decadent era of
      Lite beer, hand calculators, and "user-friendly" software
      but back in the Good Old Days,
      when the term "software" sounded funny
      and Real Computers were made out of drums and vacuum tubes,
      Real Programmers wrote in machine code.
      Not FORTRAN. Not RATFOR.  Not, even, assembly language.
      Machine Code.
      Raw, unadorned, inscrutable hexadecimal numbers.

      Lest a whole new generation of programmers
      grow up in ignorance of this glorious past,
      I feel duty-bound to describe,
      as best I can through the generation gap,
      how a Real Programmer wrote code.
      I'll call him Mel,
      because that was his name.

      I first met Mel when I went to work for Royal McBee Computer Corp.,
      a now-defunct subsidiary of the typewriter company.
      The firm manufactured the LGP-30,
      a small, cheap (by the standards of the day)
      drum-memory computer,
      and had just started to manufacture
      the RPC-4000, a much-improved,
      bigger, better, faster --- drum-memory computer.
      Cores cost too much,
      and weren't here to stay, anyway.
      (That's why you haven't heard of the company, or the computer.)

      I had been hired to write a FORTRAN compiler
      Mel didn't approve of compilers.

      "If a program can't rewrite its own code",
      he asked, "what good is it?"

      Mel had written,
      in hexadecimal,
      the most popular computer program the company owned.
      It ran on the LGP-30
      and played blackjack with potential customers
      at computer shows.
      Its effect was always dramatic.
      The LGP-30 booth was packed at every show,
      and the IBM salesmen stood around
      talking to each other.
      Whether or not this actually sold computers
      was a question we never discussed.

      Mel's job was to re-write
      the blackjack program for the RPC-4000.
      (Port?  What does that mean?)
      The new computer had a one-plus-one
      addressing scheme,
      in which each machine instruction,
      in addition to the operation code
      and the address of the needed operand,
      had a second address that indicated where, on the revolving drum,
      the next instruction was located.

      In modern parlance,
      every single instruction was followed by a GO TO!
      Put *that* in Pascal's pipe and smoke it.

      Mel loved the RPC-4000
      because he could optimize his code:
      that is, locate instructions on the drum
      so that just as one finished its job,
      the next would be just arriving at the "read head"
      and available for immediate execution.
      There was a program to do that job,
      an "optimizing assembler",
      but Mel refused to use it.

      "You never know where it's going to put things",
      he explained, "so you'd have to use separate constants".
      It was a long time before I understood that remark.
      Since Mel knew the numerical value
      of every operation code,
      and assigned his own drum addresses,
      every instruction he wrote could also be considered
      a numerical constant.
      He could pick up an earlier "add" instruction, say,
      and multiply by it,
      if it had the right numeric value.
      His code was not easy for someone else to modify.

      I compared Mel's hand-optimized programs
      with the same code massaged by the optimizing assembler program,
      and Mel's always ran faster.
      That was because the "top-down" method of program design
      hadn't been invented yet,
      and Mel wouldn't have used it anyway.
      He wrote the innermost parts of his program loops first,
      so they would get first choice
      of the optimum address locations on the drum.
      The optimizing assembler wasn't smart enough to do it that way.

      Mel never wrote time-delay loops, either,
      even when the balky Flexowriter
      required a delay between output characters to work right.
      He just located instructions on the drum
      so each successive one was just *past* the read head
      when it was needed;
      the drum had to execute another complete revolution
      to find the next instruction.
      He coined an unforgettable term for this procedure.
      Although "optimum" is an absolute term,
      like "unique", it became common verbal practice
      to make it relative:
      "not quite optimum" or "less optimum"
      or "not very optimum".
      Mel called the maximum time-delay locations
      the "most pessimum".

      After he finished the blackjack program
      and got it to run
      ("Even the initializer is optimized",
      he said proudly),
      he got a Change Request from the sales department.
      The program used an elegant (optimized)
      random number generator
      to shuffle the "cards" and deal from the "deck",
      and some of the salesmen felt it was too fair,
      since sometimes the customers lost.
      They wanted Mel to modify the program
      so, at the setting of a sense switch on the console,
      they could change the odds and let the customer win.

      Mel balked.
      He felt this was patently dishonest,
      which it was,
      and that it impinged on his personal integrity as a programmer,
      which it did,
      so he refused to do it.
      The Head Salesman talked to Mel,
      as did the Big Boss and, at the boss's urging,
      a few Fellow Programmers.
      Mel finally gave in and wrote the code,
      but he got the test backwards,
      and, when the sense switch was turned on,
      the program would cheat, winning every time.
      Mel was delighted with this,
      claiming his subconscious was uncontrollably ethical,
      and adamantly refused to fix it.

      After Mel had left the company for greener pa$ture$,
      the Big Boss asked me to look at the code
      and see if I could find the test and reverse it.
      Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed to look.
      Tracking Mel's code was a real adventure.

      I have often felt that programming is an art form,
      whose real value can only be appreciated
      by another versed in the same arcane art;
      there are lovely gems and brilliant coups
      hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever,
      by the very nature of the process.
      You can learn a lot about an individual
      just by reading through his code,
      even in hexadecimal.
      Mel was, I think, an unsung genius.

      Perhaps my greatest shock came
      when I found an innocent loop that had no test in it.
      No test.  *None*.
      Common sense said it had to be a closed loop,
      where the program would circle, forever, endlessly.
      Program control passed right through it, however,
      and safely out the other side.
      It took me two weeks to figure it out.

      The RPC-4000 computer had a really modern facility
      called an index register.
      It allowed the programmer to write a program loop
      that used an indexed instruction inside;
      each time through,
      the number in the index register
      was added to the address of that instruction,
      so it would refer
      to the next datum in a series.
      He had only to increment the index register
      each time through.
      Mel never used it.

      Instead, he would pull the instruction into a machine register,
      add one to its address,
      and store it back.
      He would then execute the modified instruction
      right from the register.
      The loop was written so this additional execution time
      was taken into account ---
      just as this instruction finished,
      the next one was right under the drum's read head,
      ready to go.
      But the loop had no test in it.

      The vital clue came when I noticed
      the index register bit,
      the bit that lay between the address
      and the operation code in the instruction word,
      was turned on ---
      yet Mel never used the index register,
      leaving it zero all the time.
      When the light went on it nearly blinded me.

      He had located the data he was working on
      near the top of memory ---
      the largest locations the instructions could address ---
      so, after the last datum was handled,
      incrementing the instruction address
      would make it overflow.
      The carry would add one to the
      operation code, changing it to the next one in the instruction set:
      a jump instruction.
      Sure enough, the next program instruction was
      in address location zero,
      and the program went happily on its way.

      I haven't kept in touch with Mel,
      so I don't know if he ever gave in to the flood of
      change that has washed over programming techniques
      since those long-gone days.
      I like to think he didn't.
      In any event,
      I was impressed enough that I quit looking for the
      offending test,
      telling the Big Boss I couldn't find it.
      He didn't seem surprised.

      When I left the company,
      the blackjack program would still cheat
      if you turned on the right sense switch,
      and I think that's how it should be.
      I didn't feel comfortable
      hacking up the code of a Real Programmer.

Slashdot Learning Computer Science via Assembly Language

Forgetting the Most Important Point (Score:4, Funny)
by duck_prime (585628) on Thursday February 05, @08:45PM (#8197142)
For learning, we don't have to learn assembly first anymore, you can start with any language. I think it is good to take a two pronged approach. Learn C first, and at the same time, start learning digital logic. [...] When one is comfortable with both, I think learning assembly is much easier.
You are missing the One True Purpose of assembly language, and the One True Reason everyone should learn assembly first:

Nothing else in the Universe can make students grateful -- grateful! -- to be allowed to use C
Re:Not So New Concept (Score:5, Funny)
by Jester99 (23135) on Thursday February 05, @07:39PM (#8196515)
"The C Programming Language -- A language which combines the
flexibility of assembly language with the power of assembly language."

The way I heard it was far drier humor: "C: The language combining the power of assembly with the ease of use of assembly." :)
Re:Not necessarily the mark of a great programmer (Score:4, Funny)
by s20451 (410424) on Thursday February 05, @06:53PM (#8195984)
( | Last Journal: Thursday January 15, @01:07PM)
I'm not a great programmer, but I never really understood programming -- especially C programming -- until I took 68000 assembly. It also took a digital logic course so I could imagine how a processor was built. It's just abstract manipulation of symbols until you can imagine exactly how your printf("Hello World!\n"); gets broken up into neat little binary chunks.

ps. Don't make them learn x86 assembly. I think that's banned under the Geneva convention.

Todd's Humor Archive IBM enhanced instruction set (fwd) by Poivre ([email protected]) Sat, 14 May 1994


IBM Model 3090/69 Features & Assembler Language Commands

AAAH           Add And Automatically Halt
AARTZ          Add And Reset To Zero
ABC            Abdicate Basic Compiler
ACM            Automatically Clear Memory
ADN            Ad Nauseam
ADN            Add Naseum
AIM            Add Improper
BAH            Branch And Hang
BBBAB          Bite Baudy Bit And Branch
BBC            Branch Before Compare
BBT            Branch on Binary Tree
BBW            Branch Both Ways
BCEGR          Branch on CE Ground
BEW            Branch Either Way
BH             Branch and Hang
BKCRDR         Backspace Card Reader
BKSPD          Backspace Disk
BKTPR          Break Tape Reverse
BLMNF          BLow MaiN Fuse
BLPIN          Branch and LooP INdefinite
BMR            Branch Multiple Registers
BNEV           Branch NEVer
BOB            Branch On Bug
BOBI           Branch On Blinking Indicator
BOBOI          Branch On Burned-Out Indicator
BOC            Branch OCcasionally
BOCBF          Branch On Chip-Box Full
BOD            Beat On Drum
BOI            Byte Operator Immediately
BOPLT          Burn Out Pilot LighTs
BOPO           Branch On Power Off
BOSO           Branch On Sleepy Operator
BOV            Burn Out Vdu
BOXMS          Branch On Index Missing
BPDI           Be Polite, Don't Interrupt
BPE            Bypass Program Error
BPECK          ByPass Error ChecK
BPO            Branch on Power Off
BRPCB          BuRP and Clear Bytes
BRST           BRanch SomeTimes
BSCH           Burst Select CHannel
BST            Backspace and Stretch Tape
BYCRE          BYpass CoRE
BYTRN          BYTe and RuN
CBS            Crash Bothersome Source-code
CCS            Chinese Character Set
CDHI           Crash Disk Head Immediate
CEMU           Close Eyes and Monkey with User space
CIRM           Circulate Memory
CLBR           CLobber ReGister
CLBRI          CLobber ReGister Immediately
CM             Circulate Memory
CMBG           Create Machine Bug
CNFM           Confuse Memory
CNFOP          Confuse Operator
CPPR           Crumple Printer Paper and Rip
CRB            CRash and Burn
CRDT           CReate Data
CTRNS          Convert To Roman Numerals
CU             Convert to Unary
CVUME          Cover Up Machine Errors
CZZC           Convert Zone to Zip Code
DABCM          Digit And Branch Converter Modifier
DAC            Divide And Conquer
DAMIT          Transfer Control to Perdition
DAO            Divide And Overflow
DC             divide and conquer
DCTCB          Dump Core To Chad Box
DDMWH          Dump Dim Map of Western Hemisphere
DESSPK         Destroy Storage Protect Key
DEVIA          Develop Ineffective Address
DITCK          Drop Into Check
DLTCR          Delete Core
DMC            Destroy Memory Chip
DMNS           Do what I Mean, Not what I Say
DMPK           Destroy Memory Protect Key
DNPG           Do Not Pass Go
DO             Divide and Overflow
DRPBTS         Drop Bits
DSTME          Destroy Memory
ECL            Early Card Lace
EDPMAB         Electrocute DP Manager And Branch
EIOC           Execute Invalid OpCode
EJCAB          Eject Chad Box
EJD            Eject Disk
EMPC           EMulate Pocket Calculator
EMU407         407 Emulation
EPE            Execute Program Error
EPI            Execute Programmer Immediately
EPMAS          Erase Protected Memory Areas
ERCDP          Erase Card Punch
ERCDS          Erase Cards
EROS           Erase Read-Only Storage
ERPTW          Erase Print Wheel
ERROS          Erase Read Only Storage
ETCRD          Eat Card
EXIOC          Execute Invalid Op Code
EXOP           Execute Operator
EXPP           EXecute Political Prisoner
FDCDJ          Feed Card and Jam
FSKPRW         Forms Skip and Run Away
GFD            Go Forth and Divide
GFM            Go Forth and Multiply
GLPSB          Gulp and Store Bytes
GPAER          Generate Parity Error
HCF            Halt and Catch Fire  **  PRIVILEGED OPERATION  **
HCFC           Branch Before Compare
HCFR           Halt and Catch FiRe  **  PRIVILEGED OPERATION  **
HDLF           Hurl Disc Like Frisbee
IAI            Inquire And Ignore
IBP            Insert Bug and Proceed
IFKTR          Initiate Fake-out Routine
IGSPC          Ignore Supervisor Call
IIAH           Ignore Interrupt And Hang
IIB            Ignore Inquiry and Branch
IKC            Ignore Keyboard and Crash
ILLAND         Illogical AND
ILLOR          Illogical OR
ILPS           Invert Logical Power Supply
INC1401        1401 INCompatibility
INVRB          Invert Record and Branch
IOCSM          Input/Output Conversely Synchronized to Matrix
ITLKC          Interlock Core
JMKYP          Jam Keypunches
JMPNC          Punch
JRA            Jump to Random Address
JSRLR          Jump to SubRoutine and Lose return Address
LCC            Load and Clear Core
LGOWY          Load and Go Away
LMBR           Lose Message and Branch
LPCON          Loop Continuous
LUPGA          Loop Until Programmer Goes Away (in desperation)
MBF            Multiply and Be Fruitful
MDRBT          Move and Drop Bits
MKTIV          Make Tape Invalid
MLR            Move and Lose Record
MVCON          Move Continuous
MVLR           Move and Lose Record
MVWRC          Move and Wrap Core
NBC            Negate By Clearing
OOOH           Or Only On Half-hours
PBC            Print and Break Chain
PBS            Pop Before Stacking
PCHD           Punch Disk
PCHOP          Punch Operator
PD             Play Dead
PDKBN          Punch Disk Binary
PDOSI          Play Des O'Connor Song Immediate
PDSK           Punch Disk
PINV           Punch Invalid
POF            Print On Fly
POPI           Punch OPerator Immediately
PRANB          Pick up Random Bits
PRSMR          Print and Smear
PS*            Punch obscenity
PSD            Pause and Smoke Dope
PSP            Print and Shred Paper
PVLC           Punch Variable Length Card
RBAFG          Read Binary And Forget
RCDRD          Rewind Card Reader
RCDSCD         Read Card and Scramble Data
RCTKG          Read Count Key and Garbage
RD             Reverse Directions
RDBGG          Random Bug Generator  ** SPECIAL FEATURE **
RDBR           Read Bad Record
RDCBX          Read Chad Box
RDCHS          Read Chaos
RDIOST         Read-In Only Storage  ** SPECIAL FEATURE **
RDIRG          Read Inter Record Gap
RDNOR          Read Noise Record
RDS            ReaD Sideways
REDTH          Reduce Throughput
REIMT          Reinitialize Meter
REPAB          Reverse Parity And Branch
REWFR          Rewind Forward
RINV           Read Invalid
RIODNR         Rotate Input/Output Device Numbers Randomly
RIRG           Read Inter-Record Gap
RNR            Rather Not Run
ROLPR          Rewind On-Line Printer
RPBL           Read Print and Blush
RPI            Reverse Priority of Interrupts
RPLT           Read from Plotter
RPM            Read Programmer's Mind
RPTR           Read from Printer
RRR            Rotate Right Randomly
RSC            Read and Shred Card
RSD            on Read error Self Destruct
RSPP           Randomly Shred Printer Paper
RSTOM          Read from STore-Only Memory
RVDOD          Reverse Drum Or Disk
RVDRI          Reverse Drum Immediate
RWBKT          Rewind and Break Tape
RWCR           Rewind Card Reader
RWDSK          Rewind Disk
RWTOD          Rewind Tape Onto Disk
RWWRT          Read and Write While Ripping Tape
SADP           Stop And Demand Payrise
SARTZ          Subtract And Reset To Zero
SCCHS          Scramble Channels
SCDTA          Scatter Data
SCMRY          Scatter Memory
SCPR           Scatter Print
SCPSW          Scatter Program Status Word
SDI            Scratch Disc Immediate
SHAB           SHift A Bit
SHLBM          SHift a Little Bit More
SHLPN          SHarpen Light PeNcil
SKRSD          Seek Record and Scar Disk
SLD            Slip Disk
SMR            Skip on Meaningless Result
SMTACS         Shift Manual To Automatic and Check Stop
SOSAJ          Select Output Stacker And Jam
SOT            Sit On a Tack
SPRDK          Shuffle Program Deck
SPSW           Scramble Program Status Word
SPT            Scramble Protected Tapes
SQPC           Sit Quietly and Play with your Crayons
SRSD           Seek Record and Scar Disk
SRZ            Subtract and Reset to Zero
SSJ            Select Stacker and Jam
SST            Stop and Stretch Tape
STAB           Switch To Alternate Bedlam
STDR           Stop and Demand a Rest
STROM          STore in Read-Only Memory
STSLD          Stacker Select Disk
STTPB          Stretch Tape Binary
STUP           Stacker Upset
TADBT          Transfer And Drop Bits
TCLSR          Transfer Control and Lose Return
TCTDK          Transfer Control To Disk
TCTOL          Transfer Control To Overhead Lights
TCTPL          Transfer Control To Pilot Lights
TCTWS          Transfer Control To Wall Socket
TDB            Transfer and Drop Bits
TMTDK          Transfer Monitor To Disk
TPDEC          Triple Pack Decimal
TRAHG          Transfer And Hang
TRDB           Transfer And Drop Bits
TRSCH          Trap Secretary and Halt
UER            Update and Erase Record
UINDA          Use Inverse Digital Array
UNCPB          Uncouple CPUs and Branch
UPERR          Update and Erase Record
UPTR           Update Transaction
WBI            Water BInary tree
WCDR           Write CD-ROM
WCTKG          Write Count Key and Garbage
WEMG           Write Eighteen Minute Gap
WMTAE          Write Memory , Transfer, And Erase
WNOSR          Write Noise Record
WPM            Write Programmer's Mind
WRR            Write Random Record
WWRLR          Write Wrong Length Record
XMAS           eXclusive OR Main Areas of Storage
XSP            eXecute Systems Programmer
ZIPCD          Address of Memory .  Zip Code = 85281
ZIPEX          Address by Nine-Digit Zipcode

And Remember --- "On A Clear Disk You Can Seek Forever."

Jokes Magazine Amusing Opcodes September 5, 2001

BNE - Branch to Non-Existent code

BNR - Branch for No Reason.

BRA - Branch to Random Address

BVS - Branch to Virtual Subroutine

CLD - CalL a Doctor

CMD - Create Meaningless Data.

DEC - DElete the Code

DRA - Decrement Random Address.

EDR - Emit Deadly Radiation.

JMP - Jump if Memory Present (conditional jump)

LLI - Lose Last Instruction.

PRS - Push Results off Stack.

RIS - Remain In Subroutine.

RTI - Return from the Infinity

SHB - Scramble High order Bit.

TEC - Take Extra time for Calculation

Random Findings

Other low level languages



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