[its-hackers] Fwd: [PDP-10/its] Use the CH11 Chaosnet address (#2038)

Jack Haverty jack at 3kitty.org
Thu Jun 24 18:06:55 CEST 2021

Hi Lars,

Yes, you could be right.   While I was in MIT-DM (1970-1977), I remember 
ENG directories, but never heard them mentioned as "English".   OTOH, I 
never heard them referenced as "Engineering" either.   That's just what 
I assumed ENG meant.   It may have been an AI convention which DM just 
adopted with all of the ITS code and conventions.  Unlike other groups, 
we just wanted to use an OS, not invent a new one.

I don't recall there ever being any other languages in use. Everything 
was in ASCII (no EBCDIC even), so other languages' character sets 
weren't supported.   Instead of ENGlish, I would have expected TXT or 
maybe ASCii or CODe as a naming convention for source directories.   But 
I don't remember anything like that either, it was all ENG.  I suspect 
most people wouldn't recognize Midas PDP-10 instructions, or TECO 
macros, or even Muddle, as "English", especially today.


On 6/24/21 12:31 AM, Lars Brinkhoff wrote:
> Jack Haverty wrote:
>> - ENG probably meant ENGineering, which related to "system" stuff,
>> e.g., ITS itself and perhaps major applications like Midas, DDT, Teco,
>> etc.  Everything was in English back then.
> That's what I thought too at first.  But then I learned back in the very
> early PDP-1 and PDP-6 days at MIT, source code was called "English".  On
> the AI PDP-10, there was the SYS directory for binaries and SYSENG for
> source code.  It's not spelled out anywhere, but do think SYSENG means
> "system english", i.e. system source code.  But "system engineering" is
> another valid theory.  It's not spelled out clearly anywhere.  Using
> English to mean source code was probably somewhat archaic already by
> 1969 since it's sometimes put inside quote marks, e.g.
> Tellingly, PRS is Peter Samson, one of the early MIT hackers.  The next
> quote is from a TJ6 info file, maybe written by Richard Greeblatt?
>     EOF -  unexpected end-of-file when loading program
>     (you probably loaded an english, not binary file by mistake)
> On the DM PDP-10 there was also SAENG and ITSENG.  I agree SA probably
> means Stand-Alone, and ITSENG is the monitor source code.  This usage
> wasn't picked up by the AI lab.  When ITS moved from SYSENG to a
> separate directory it was called SYSTEM which also housed the stand-
> alone tools.

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