Thanks Martin,

I remember those days, but only vaguely and never knew those details.

dale

On 06/12/2013 07:36 AM, Martin Phillips wrote:
I can add that I think VMark rewrote Prime Information in C which really
boosted the performance.  I think they called it Prime Info or something
like that.
I'm not sure about this. As far as I know, once VMark took ownership of Prime 
Information, they gently retired it.

Are you thinking of PI/open? If so, I was one of the technical managers for its 
development.

PI/open started life in Prime Australia where the intention was to write it 
using a macro assembler called K9. Shortly after they
got started, Prime Australia was closed and development moved to the UK. I took 
a look at K9 and decided that it was the wrong way
to go as it made assumptions about the underlying processor architecture that 
were not necessarily valid if we wanted portability
without massive rewriting efforts. I made a decision that the core of PI/open 
would be written in C. This was highly contentious. I
can recall a project meeting in which the VP of Engineering stated that my 
continued employment was dependent on this being
successful.

At the time, Prime's C compiler was not good and there was much doubt about 
whether it would produce good code. One of my team was
tasked with finding a good C compiler. He took the interesting approach of 
constructing a very devious program that used all manner
of C operations to construct and display the ubiquitous "Hello World" string. 
Comparison of the resulting object code from a variety
of compilers showed that some were not that good whereas one of them evaluated 
the entire process within the compiler and just
generated a print of the literal string.

A few performance critical bits of PI/open were still written in assembler but 
I put a rule in place that there must be a C
equivalent too.

It is interesting to note that just a few weeks before first release the 
marketing guys decided to change the platform on which it
would be launched. If we had gone the assembler route, this would have imposed 
a huge delay. With C, it took just a few changes to
recompile everything.

Phew! I still had a job.


Martin Phillips
Ladybridge Systems Ltd
17b Coldstream Lane, Hardingstone, Northampton NN4 6DB, England
+44 (0)1604-709200



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