All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

General discussions related to the Altair 8800 Clone

Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby virtualaltair » December 1st, 2016, 3:37 pm

UCSD Pascal should run on an Altair with SSSD soft-sectored diskettes. I'm not sure what would be required for MITS format beyond transferring the files to a new format. I think UCSD PASCAL was stand-alone and did not run under CP/M.

Tom
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Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby mail@gabrielegan.com » March 11th, 2017, 10:41 am

COBOL is hard! (Or at least, very fussy.) I've got Nevada COBOL for CP/M running on my Altair Clone, but I'm unable to get running any of the COBOL 'Hello, World!' programs that are available around the WorldWide Web. The couple of COBOL programs that come with Nevada COBOL (CONFIG.CBL and RENUMBER.CBL) work fine, so it's presumably that I'm putting things in the wrong columns or using conventions that Nevada COBOL doesn't follow. I've tried cutting down one of the supplied programs to make a model to work from, but whatever I'm deleting is making the compilation fail.

Has anybody got a simple COBOL program that works under Nevada COBOL that I could use as a model to learn from?

Regards

Gabriel Egan
Minimal Computing Lab
De Montfort University
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Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby toml_12953 » March 12th, 2017, 5:07 am

mail@gabrielegan.com wrote:COBOL is hard! (Or at least, very fussy.) I've got Nevada COBOL for CP/M running on my Altair Clone, but I'm unable to get running any of the COBOL 'Hello, World!' programs that are available around the WorldWide Web. The couple of COBOL programs that come with Nevada COBOL (CONFIG.CBL and RENUMBER.CBL) work fine, so it's presumably that I'm putting things in the wrong columns or using conventions that Nevada COBOL doesn't follow. I've tried cutting down one of the supplied programs to make a model to work from, but whatever I'm deleting is making the compilation fail.

Has anybody got a simple COBOL program that works under Nevada COBOL that I could use as a model to learn from?

Regards

Gabriel Egan
Minimal Computing Lab
De Montfort University

You'll never learn COBOL as used in actual businesses by using Nevada COBOL. Try Microsoft COBOL instead. It's based on the ANSI standard for COBOL and is almost complete. It's missing the SORT verb. One good feature about it is that you can use most COBOL textbooks with it. You can't do that with Nevada. You can get MS COBOL-80 (scroll down to get the latest version) along with other CP/M languages here:

http://www.retroarchive.org/cpm/lang/lang.htm

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Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby mail@gabrielegan.com » March 12th, 2017, 7:03 am

Dear Tom

I tried the Microsoft COBOL (version 4.65) on that site but its ZIP file expands to make 42 files occupying 361k, which is more than can fit on an Altair disk. Any idea which files I don't need or whether (and how) I can span them across multiple disks?

Regards

Gabriel
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Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby toml_12953 » March 14th, 2017, 8:19 am

mail@gabrielegan.com wrote:Dear Tom

I tried the Microsoft COBOL (version 4.65) on that site but its ZIP file expands to make 42 files occupying 361k, which is more than can fit on an Altair disk. Any idea which files I don't need or whether (and how) I can span them across multiple disks?

Regards

Gabriel


The .COB files are COBOL source code so they can go on another disk. The .MAC files are for customization so they can go on another disk. RUNCOB.COM only needs to be on the disk you use to run programs. If you're just compiling, you can put that on a separate disk. If you're not going to use ISAM, you can get rid of CVISAM.COM. M80 is the macro assembler. When compiling COBOL programs, you shouldn't need it.
In fact, the linker (L80) can go on a separate disk from the compiler (COBOL.COM). A manual can tell you more about which files need to be online for different tasks.

ftp://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/microsoft/cpm/Microsoft_COBOL-80_1978.pdf

Tom L
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Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby mail@gabrielegan.com » March 17th, 2017, 10:50 am

Success! Thanks Tom.

As Tom suggested, I split the Microsoft COBOL installation over two disks, putting the compiler (COBOL.COM) and all the "*.OVR" files on drive A and the linking loader (L80.COM) on drive B. This means that after compilation the object code file (".REL") is on the A drive while the linking loader that links, loads, and runs it is on the B drive. But you don't need to move the object code file from one drive to the other, I've found: the linking loader is happy to link, load, and run object code that resides on a different drive from itself. Now, I just need to figure out how (if?) Microsoft COBOL can make a ".COM" file from the object code. But since L80 will execute object code too, this isn't essential.

So, that's now assembly language, FORTRAN, COBOL, BASIC, Algol, C, and Pascal running on Altairs in my lab. Anybody know of another language I should have? I want to be able to teach a History of Computing course and it seems to me that these seven cover the majority of the ground, right?

Regards

Gabriel Egan
Minimal Computing Lab
De Montfort University
mail@gabrielegan.com
 
Posts: 81
Joined: October 11th, 2014, 8:12 am

Re: All the Altair languages -- and new ones?

Postby pngwen » March 17th, 2017, 11:18 am

Was there ever a FORTH environment for the Altair? If not, there needs to be one!
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