[its-hackers] its-hackers Digest, Vol 52, Issue 2

Christopher Stacy cstacy at dtpq.com
Fri Aug 20 15:25:17 CEST 2021

 > Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2021 01:41:16 +0800
 > From: Elias M?rtenson <lokedhs at gmail.com>
 > On Thu, 19 Aug 2021 at 02:41, Jack Haverty <jack at 3kitty.org> wrote:
 >> Somewhat later, probably fall 1968, I had a student job with the 
Metallurgy Department, programming in APL
 > I have an interest in APL (and one of my projects is a research 
programming language that uses APL syntax and symbols). >I assumed that 
what you described must have been APL\360,
 > but Wikipedia suggests that at the time it was not used outside IBM.

I don't know what Jack was using, but probably APL/360, as it dates from 
a couple years before that. Things moved fast in those days. But there 
was a non-IBM implementation of APL for the 7090 at Stanford in 1965, 
for example[1].

I can tell you with certainty that APL was big business - outside of IBM 
- as early as one year later than Jack's date. And that non-IBM 
implementations were commercial in 1970.

I started programming in APL in the summer of (I think) 1973.

 > Could the Wikipedia article be wrong?

There are plenty of more credible places on the web to get that kind of 
information. It will sometimes nerequire more than a single click.

[1] However, it only took me 2 minutes just now to learn about the 7090 
APL (and a lot of other APL timeline).

If you are trying to research computer history, or most really most 
anything, a better question to generally ask might be:

"Could the Wikipedia article be right?"

I thought that even junior high school students are taught that 
Wikipedia is not a credible reference, and is unsuitable for citation in 
homework. Wikipedia can be a starting point for extra hints about 
looking for real information, if you have absolutely no idea what you're 
looking for and are totally clueless, and can't muster enough Google-fu 
to type in things like "APL timeline".

Sometimes Wikipedia has correct information, if it's something they just 
copied out of a textbook on a purely factual matter. Like math and 
physics.  I use it all the time!

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