|wickensonline.co.uk Retrochallenge 2010 Winter Warmup Entry Library|
Well I'm still slogging away at the MECB/VFD 68k C game but it's coming on
slowly and I'm not even sure I'll get it finished in time.
One thing I did want to do was to scan in some of my retro book library to share
with the internet. I mentioned in my first post about the Fortran VAX games I'd
been given to try and get working. I can read simple Fortran, but debugging or
enhancing an application is another matter, so I ordered a couple of books from
Better World Books. Well, much to my surprise they turned up the other day. Both
are ex-college library books, both cost me less than £3.50 including postage
from the USA but one in particular turned out to be fantastic for more than one
reason. The book is Vax Fortran (The Boyd & Fraser programming language series).
Firstly, it is hardbound. Actually it is a soft cover book that had been
hardbound by the library. That wouldn't happen these days! Secondly, the author
is David G. Weinman of Hollins College and the book is from the 'Junius Parker
Fishburn Memorial Library' of Hollins College, Virginia. That is a really nice
touch - this was the library copy of the book written by one of their staff.
Thirdly, it is really nicely printed in two-colour text. Rather than dodgy line
printer listing illustrating programs within the text (which seems to be par for
course for a lot of VAX books) the programs are typeset in a high quality dot
matrix lookalike font. The effect works very well. It's also printed on very
nice bank paper-thin sheets.
Other highlights in this collection are:
Engineering a Compiler - is one of the authors the famous David Cutler?
VAX Architecture Reference Manual - this is the definitive description of the
programming interface to the VAX. Arguably one of the greatest strengths of the
VAX architecture was its precise definition and this is book is the main vehicle
by which that specification was disseminated. Although the underlying
implementation changed greatly throughout the life of the VAX the programmers
interface remained the same. You could argue it was a 'virtual machine'.
VAX/VMS Software Source Book - this is a 1,000 odd page directory of software
available for the VAX, with a lot of interesting detail. Virtually all of this
software has been lost to the mists of time - the only reason why the software
catalog from DIGITAL itself is so complete is because a large proportion of the
catalog was distributed on a set of CDROMs called the 'Software Product
Library', and companies that subscribed to it got updates generally at least
four times a year. That's a lot of CDROMs still kicking around!
It's also nice to see so many books with female authors. I don't know what the
statistics are, but I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a steady decline of
female programmers over the years. It's such a shame - a mixed team has got to
be the best option for producing quality software.
So, tonight I give you the main highlights of my collection of VAX related
books, from back in the day.
Computer Programming and Architecture, The Vax-11.
Henry M. Levy, Richard H. Eckhouse, Jr.
VAX Assembly Language
VAX 11 Structured Assembly Language Programming
Robert W. Sebesta
Engineering a Compiler
VAX-11 Code Generation and Optimization
Patricia Arklam, David Cutler, Roger Heinen Jr., M. Donald MacLaren
Programming Using VAX BASIC
David W. Weinman
VAX Architecture Reference Manual
edited by Timothy E. Leonard
VAX/VMS - Concepts and Facilities
VAX Architecture Handbook
(Architecture for the 80's)
VAX C Programmer's Guide
Programming in Assembly Language VAX-11
Edward F. Sowell
VAX/VMS Software Source Book
Sixth Edition, October 1990