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Inquiries for "Bad Aspects" of the RT


John Myers Nov 29, 1988 1:24 PM
Posted in group: comp.sys.ibm.pc.rt
Two disclaimers:  One, these are my opinions only; two, I'm not
running the absolute latest release of the software I'm discussing.

The major problem I have found with ACIS 4.3 is the lack of a
production-quality C compiler.  ACIS comes with two C compilers,
"High C" from MetaWare, Inc. (hc), and a version of the Portable C
Compiler (pcc).  AOS apparently comes with three compilers, pcc and
two versions of hc.

hc claims to be draft ANSI conformant, but really doesn't come close.
A large number of Makefiles invoke hc with the "-U__STDC__" switch as
a matter of course and a number of system-wide header files have
constructs surrounded by "#if defined(__STDC__) && !defined(__HIGHC__)".

hc has a number of bugs--the usual method of compiling a program is to
run a "make", compiling what one can with hc, and then doing a
"make CC=pcc" to compile the rest.  Sometimes this won't work--I have
one program that I simply cannot compile on the RT because it tickles
bugs in both compilers.  Most of the bugs I reported seem to be fixed
in the latest release, but from what I read on the xperts mailing
list, the latest release still has problems.

hc also has some static limits on the size of internal data structures
which are (by definition) too low.  APAR 407, which complains about
the too-low limit on the number of nodes, has been open for over a
year.  It also generates the "stabs" debugging information in the
wrong format--when porting the GNU debugger, the programmer had to put
in a heuristic to determine which compiler was used to compile the
program and deal with hc as a special case.

pcc would fit the bill of a production-quality compiler, but it still
has a few bugs which IBM refuses to fix.  They wish to "... [promote]
the use of a C compiler in the IBM Academic Operating System 4.3 that
follows the Proposed ANSI Standard for the C programming language (hc)
over a C compiler that does not (pcc)...".  Right.  Since when does hc
follow the draft ANSI standard?


If you manage to get your programs compiled, the APC RT is a nice,
fast piece of metal.  I haven't used the 6152's all that much, but
they leave a rubber-band-and-chewing-gum taste in my mouth.  The 8514
display card (am I getting the numbers right?) for the 6152 is
undocumented, or at least what documentation exists is currently IBM
Confidential Restricted.

IBM has this tendency to foist off monitors that are much too small.
Most RT monitors around here are 3rd party.

I have not had any problems with hardware service; in fact I've been
fairly impressed.  I am at CMU though--there are a lot of the buggers
around here, so the IBM Techs are somewhat familiar with them.

Stay away from AIX if at all possible.  I spent three days installing
AIX on a machine--managed to bring up the network and create a user
before my boss figured that I had better things to do.  The manuals
have a low signal-to-noise ratio--I remember spending lots of time
flipping through pages of blue-ink examples looking for the single
item of information that I needed.  I also remember some bogosities
like having to specifiy at configuration time whether a given pty was
to have a getty running on the slave end.

--
_.John G. Myers                Internet: John....@cs.cmu.edu
                        LoseNet:  ...!seismo!ihnp4!wiscvm.wisc.edu!give!up
"Whenever faced with a problem, some people say `Lets use AWK.'
 Now, they have two problems." -- D. Tilbrook
--