Computer Language Magazine

I seem to remember a magazine from the Eighties: Computer Language, “for people who code in more than 2 languages”. IIRC it came from California. It was really expensive here in Germany, and there was only one single shop at the station where I could get it. But I loved it – it gave deeper insight into languages and compilers, and it presented even exotic languages, such as Lisp or APL.

One year there was an April edition, with a joke in every article. I remember an announcement for a new operating system with a lot of new features, even an olfactory feature where in version 0.9 the implementation was limited to the trash can.

I would really love to have a look on one of these issues today.




Y E S ! !

And I even remember the title pages. Number 08 is an April issue – apparently not the one I was recalling.

Flipping through some of the documents really evokes the old times.

Thank you!

Starts reading today.

Great, I didn’t know this. Also a notable and for the genre rather rare emphasis on layout!
Thank you (and, of course, the Internet Archive)!

Ah yes, the hardcopy “internet” of old… Magazines.
(believe it or not, there are still specialty magazines being published.
I spotted several in the check-out aisle of Micro Center, Trains, photography magazines, and 2600.)
Lastly… Wow, there are programmers who only use one language?

Yes. In the eighties there were! Their language was called Basic…

R.I.P. Basic 1963 to 1993,
Just few people could use a computer in 1963.
I say the 80’s was all the little 16 bit languages, PASCAL,BASIC,K&R C,ASSEMBLER.
I tend to dislike C because it is too tied to the UNIX operating system
and the use of the macro processor, for any non trivial program, but looking around
I don’t see any other programing language that suported separate compilation,
use of ASM routines and ASCII I/O.
I also grumble that you could get unix source (at one time) for all but the C compiler
(I want C cross compiler, but to self compile in 128K cause that is all I have).

C is certainly a Unix language, which is decreasingly relevant for mainstream computing (since everything is Unix now), but certainly problematic for trying to break out of that mould. As far as the C preprocessor, it has been well understood for decades that the C preprocessor should be used as little as practical in most cases. Some popular modern open source software (many GNU projects such as GNU libc, coreutils, gcc, etc.) uses cpp extensively, but I would argue that most modern C outside of the platform-specific bindings inside the compiler and C library doesn’t abuse cpp too badly.

I don’t understand this. The C compiler always shipped with early Unix, and in the dawn of the portability era Steve Johnson’s pcc compiler was available. The commercial Unix distributions of the late '80s and early '90s certainly closed their compilers, but by then, gcc was available.

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Are you sure about this? I’m certainly not an expert on this, but I always thought that the developer tools for AT&T Unix were entirely closed (as in no source code available) and only came in an exra package, requiring an additional license.

That was true late (for some definition of late) in Unix’s life, but not for the academic-licensed Unix.

BASIC is still alive and well - just think of the millions of lines of VB code out there and all those excel macros which is just another form of BASIC in disguise.

(BASIC interpreter writer :slight_smile: )

I am sure there are MORE lines of COBOL out there.
I picked 1993 as the cut off as that was about the time the last 8
bit computers hit the market.

I just noticed that there are only 10 issues available on The last issue (on is dedicated to Lisp; I’d like to think that after covering Lisp, the authors felt that there was nothing more to be said.

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As for small (commercial) systems, the AT&T PC and its various derivatives launched in 1985.

[quote=“rwiker, post:14, topic:3151, full:true”]
I’d like to think that after covering Lisp, the authors felt that there was nothing more to be said[/quote]
Well, that sounds a bit emotive. I remember from that time that the delivery stopped at one point, very abruptly. But I also strongly remember the April issue that I did mention above (one article ‘My life as a Forth interpreter’), and as that was not in 1984, it must have been in 1985.

Ironically, I learned C years before I had access to Unix. I used C on OpenVMS (up until I retired a couple years ago)

I currently have at least 58 original issues in my “library”, a bit yellowed, with dates from April 1987 through the final issue of June 1993, with only a couple of gaps. It’s a pity that I don’t have the resources to scan them, but I am not against the idea of gifting one or more of them to someone, as long as the shipping costs don’t exceed my limited budget.

I do have a cheap flat-bed scanner here. Maybe I could post some covers or tables of contents if there are any specific requests?


I see it more as a “… if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you kind of thing.

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Somehow, we should get you talking with Jason Scott at the Internet Archive. Judging from the interest here, there would be many other people interested in seeing them

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