Re: Code Annotation of the Week

Subject: Re: Code Annotation of the Week
From: "Guy K. Haas" <guy -at- hiskeyboard -dot- com>
To: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 2009 19:43:01 -0800

I worked for Burroughs Corp., Medium Systems division back in the 70s. I
recalled an episode we had that caused several system programmers to be
summoned from Pasadena to company HQ in Detroit because, when Burroughs
opened its Operating System source code to certain Valuable Customers, one
found what he deemed profanity. Here is a write-up I found on the web:

> On Fri, Sep 23, 2005, Eric Leung wrote:
> >Are the linux kernel source really laden with profanity?
> It wouldn't be the first OS that had questionable comments in it.
> The first main frame I worked on was a Burroughs B-5500, a stack
> oriented machine, the first to have real virtual memory, and
> it has no machine/assembly language -- the system was written
> entirely in ALGOL. The Burroughs MCP (Master Control Program)
> operating system depended heavily on forks, and the MCP fork
> manager was known as the ``Mother Forker'' (at least informally
> amongst the developers :-).
> When I was working with the Burrough Mediums Systems (B-2500
> through B-4800) versions of MCP, I had an opportunity to get the
> source code so I could diagnose and fix some problems with their
> first RJE (Remote Job Entry) software. There were quite a few
> comments similar to ``damn the torpedoes -- full speed ahead''
> and ``shove it up the stack and hope for the best''. I don't
> remember seeing any of the words that George Carlin said you
> can't say on television, but the implications were there.
> Bill


This discovery in the Large Systems code sent the Medium Systems folks
into a mad search for similar issues. The "worst" thing we found was a
section of code in which logical names for some branch targets were "sno"
and "white" which led to neighboring targets being christened "prince",
"witch", "sleepy", "dopey", etc.

--Guy K. Haas
Software Exegete in Silicon Valley

On Tue, November 10, 2009 7:14 pm, quills -at- airmail -dot- net wrote:
> I'll see yours and raise with this error message.
> "Pish posh Romana, what could possibly go wrong?"
> The writer who was documenting the software, got in trouble for putting
> that in the document. Until she proved that the error message was
> actually in the software.
> Scott
> Janice Gelb wrote:
>> Seen in actual code:
>> "The packet matches and the search is over. The
>> packet is expunged without a peep. There are no
>> notices, no logs, no memorial service. Cake will
>> not be served."
>> -- Janice
>> ***********************************************************
>> Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
>> janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


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Code Annotation of the Week: From: Janice Gelb
Re: Code Annotation of the Week: From: quills

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