Johnny asks:
> I'm sorry, but I've never heard of uBliss. Where can you find that one?


No idea. I never had a copy. I'd heard of it years ago.
A Google search turns up an article from comp.compilers from 1987.
Unfortunately the "new and improved" Google Groups seems to be a lot
less useful; I can't seem to construct a reasonable URL for the article,
so here it is:

From: Alan Lehotsky
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Subject: BLISS
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 87 11:00:34 EDT

As the project-leader for BLISS at DEC for 6 years, I'd like to comment
on several points raised about Bliss.

1. BLISS "failed" as a generally available language for several reasons.

o The "typed operator and untyped operand" world-view is contrary to the
modern notion of type-checking being a good thing. And just like C, there
are lots of syntactically legal BLISS expressions which are semantic
nonsense. For all the bad things about Pascal, it seems that when my
programs COMPILE, they run correctly. I cannot make this claim for either
C or BLISS.

o BLISS compilers are difficult to implement and the only "public-domain"
compiler was written in BLISS-10 for the PDP-11

o We (the DEC developers) didn't do an adequate job of making the language
"available" to our customers. I spent YEARS trying to get BLISS released
as a product, and more (fruitless) years trying to get the price reduced
to be as cheap as the assembler! [Namely FREE].

2. Regarding Charles Simmons comment about BLISS not becoming DEC's
system language.....

I'm not certain what's most popular these days, but when I was
there(1975-1983), BLISS was very heavily used. All of DEC's compilers for
the VAX were written in BLISS (except for PL/1). Much of the VAX
file-system, parts of RMS-11 and sundry things on the DEC-10 and 20 were
done in BLISS.

3. Regarding portability. The two languages Bliss-10 and Bliss-11 were
developed at CMU and were very definitely non-portable. At Digital, a
group of people including Ron Brender, Marty Jack, and many others
developed a new language "Common BLISS" that had a lot of support for
portable programming. There were four implementations of Common BLISS -
Bliss-32, Bliss-36, Bliss-16 and uBliss (micro-Bliss). The latter was a
subset compiler that ran on a PDP-11!

A lot of code was developed at DEC in "Common BLISS" - one example was
DSR (Digital Standard Runoff) which took the same source and ran on
PDP-11, DEC-10 and VAX.

I have to admit that I really miss Bliss. It had a terrific macro-system
integrated into the compiler (another reason why it was hard to write a
compiler), which supported iteration and recursion. [We wrote Towers of
Hanoi as a bliss macro that computed the moves at COMPILE TIME!] [Someone
else once wrote a pseudo basic interpreter as a BLISS macro!] It generated
fantastic code, and had machine-dependent features for fine-tuning (such as
passing parameters in registers, or leaving a global variable in a register
for use by a group of cooperating subroutines.

My fantasy bumper sticker: "Honk if you love BLISS"

Al Lehotsky, apollo!alan
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