UCSD-Pascal sourcecode released

heise.de reports that the University of California , San Diego (UCSD) has released the sourcecode of their UCSD-Pascal to the public to be used for educational purposes.

UCSD-Pascal was the first programming language I got taught – the first I learned on my own was Commodore Basic. I was in the first age-group ever who was offered courses in information technology at my school. We were a selected group of 12 pupils, and we had – tadaaaa!! – 2 (two!) Apple ][ computers to our disposal. Well, disposal is not the right word – they were jealously guarded, and one of them had to be borrowed from the principal’s office prior to each course. They had two floppy drives – one for the operating system, with the floppy always inserted, and the second for the Pascal environment and for saved files. The floppies stored 180 KBytes if I recall it right…
Our Math teacher struggled hard to stay ahead of us knowledgewise – about half of the kids in the course had Comodore VIC 20 or Commodore C64 computers at home. Nevertheless she managed to teach us the Pascal programming language with the UCSD environment, and I became quite fond of it.

Actually I considered the structures inside of Pascal as far superior compared to the Basic daialect on my Commodore C64 that I actively looked into a Pascal compiler for the C64. Some while later, the German software company Data Becker(they still exist as an outlet for cheap software and books) released such a piece of software. Unfortunately it could in no way be compared to UCSD Pascal, so I started to re-design the UCSD toolbox with its look and feel for the C64, using the Data Becker Pascal compiler as its core. Today I probably would get sued for such a task, but back in the early 1980ies I participated at the Jugend Forscht competition and came in as runner up for my whole province. My career choice for Information Technology however has to a very large extend been shaped by UCSD Pascal.

Enough walking down memory lane for today.

On a sidenote: This is actually a funny coincidence. Jona came to my office the other day and during the initial smalltalk to “break the ice” (little breaking was necessary) I enquired about their IT lessons at school. Once he finished, I more or less told him the above story, and later I thought that would make a nice blog entry…

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