Hot answers tagged

124 votes
Accepted

Why is Ctrl-V the Paste shortcut?

As well as being close to X and C on most keyboard layouts, “V” is reminiscent of the caret used in proofreading to indicate the insertion point for new text, e.g. text to be inserted V ...
73 votes
Accepted

How could early UNIX OS comprise so few lines of code?

If you look at the code in the modern Linux kernel, you will find that most of the code is in the device drivers. There are tens of millions of lines of code to support everything imaginable -- the ...
  • 12.8k
69 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

Directory is a filesystem concept. Folder is a user-level concept. From its beginning in the 1980s, the Macintosh GUI (and possibly other GUIs before it) only talked about "folders" and ...
  • 2,028
58 votes

How could early UNIX OS comprise so few lines of code?

Yes, and you can buy it in a fully annotated book and have your own copy to peruse, should you be a skeptic: Lions, John; (1996) "Lions' Commentary on Unix", ISBN 978-1573980135 I have had a ...
42 votes
Accepted

Did anyone ever run out of stack space on the 6502?

Unlike its main rival the Z80, the 6502 had a size limit of 256 bytes for the hardware stack. The 6502 stack is mainly meant as a return return stack and for register preservation - which usually isn'...
  • 191k
40 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

TL;DR: No, 'Directories' were never replaced by 'Folders'. They are the same. The names just represent different views: Directory is the data structure holding information about files (and other ...
  • 191k
34 votes
Accepted

Who invented garbage collection?

TL;DR: Garbage collection is not a standalone entity, but part of a storage management system. Only languages having dynamic storage objects needs management to handle them. C is neither a storage ...
  • 191k
30 votes
Accepted

Origin of "string"

The oldest occurrence I know is from 1918, so much older than the existing answers (at least for its use in mathematics and logic/computation). This is from the book: C. I. Lewis. A survey of symbolic ...
25 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

I believe this is a distinction without a difference. As described reasonable well in the Wikipedia article on "directory", folder is more of a way of describing the use of a directory for ...
25 votes

Who invented garbage collection?

Part of the problem here is the definition of "garbage collection". This is what the video says: The more difficult problem [than forgetting to free memory] is after a series of calls to ...
  • 10.9k
25 votes

Origin of "string"

This question was asked on Stack Overflow, but closed as off-topic there. Before it was closed, it received this answer (lightly edited by me): I had guessed that "string" was in use by ...
24 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

1984 Mac: They did mean different things The original file system of the Macintosh was called MFS (Macintosh File System). It was released with the first Macs in 1984. In this file system, "...
  • 15.1k
20 votes

How could early UNIX OS comprise so few lines of code?

That's reasonable. The first Unix was written in assembly language for the PDP-7 and PDP-11, which had some 16 kB system memory. You can't run a large OS on that. The first versions of the C-based ...
  • 421
20 votes
Accepted

In what sense would the Atari 3200 have been a 10-bit machine?

TL;DR: Don't Listen to the Internet's Mumbling. The '10 Bit Processor' is a nerd myth without any foundation. Your guess is as good as mine what it is based on. (*1). What is Really Told Sylvia, ...
  • 191k
17 votes

Did anyone ever run out of stack space on the 6502?

Most likely answer is, yes, someone has likely run out of stack space on a 6502 at some point. On the other hand, modern C compilers don't use the hardware stack much, as they implement a software ...
  • 23.3k
16 votes
Accepted

What are the most historically relevant implementations of Prolog? And what platforms?

Well, usually any answer to a question with so many opinion based criteria would be at least debatable, if not total off topic. But in case of Prolog there is in fact a clear answer (*1): Turbo Prolog ...
  • 191k
15 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

Folder is a concept that probably1 originated with the MacOS operating system (note the capital M, it's the original Macintosh operating system, not the one that used to be called OS X). The term &...
  • 10.9k
14 votes

Did anyone ever run out of stack space on the 6502?

I did, arguably. The Atari Lynx is a system with unified memory, a 4bpp frame buffer and a scaling blitter. So for algorithmic drawing, a fairly obvious optimisation is to push pixels to the stack as ...
  • 33.5k
14 votes

Origin of "string"

In computer science, it is sometimes deemed necessary to distinguish between the data and its representation, to be able to formulate thoughts like "lines of text are stored in computer memory as ...
  • 17k
12 votes

History of High Availability in the mainframe and minicomputer eras?

I'm pretty certain the concept of RAS (reliability, availability, serviceability) has been in IBM's mainframe line since very early on. I always found it funny that one of the big selling features of ...
  • 2,990
11 votes

How could early UNIX OS comprise so few lines of code?

Is it true, and if so how did they manage it? Yes, it is true, as proven by the book linked in Brian's answer. As to how they managed it: computers are, as a rule of thumb getting more complex over ...
  • 1,116
10 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

In my point of view, this is more a GUI vs. command line differentiation. Within a *nix-shell, I still "mkdir" and not "mkfolder". But in most of the window managers (not all), the ...
  • 117
10 votes

Origin of "string"

The word is used in an 1834 treatise on the potential power of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine. Mr Babbage's invention puts an engine in the place of the computer; the question is set to the ...
10 votes

Did RapidLok etc knock floppy drives out of alignment?

Many home computer floppy drives (some 1541 variants, and also e.g. Apple II drives) had no track zero sensor. That means the only way to get them to a known position was indeed to hammer them ...
  • 23.5k
8 votes

Did anyone ever run out of stack space on the 6502?

The 6502 instruction set is not very well-suited for using the hardware stack for tasks other than subroutines calls and short-term storage. Subroutine calls nested 128 deep are pretty rare even ...
  • 12.8k
8 votes

Origin of "string"

Knuth frequently gives a complete definition of a word, including its etymology, derivations, derivatives, names of people who invented it, back to Babylonian times, or further, but in this case he ...
  • 5,292
7 votes

When was the term ‘directory’ replaced by ‘folder’?

Since the question body seems particularly focused on Windows, I am going to answer the question of when the name change happened in Windows. This answer is pretty easy: the name change happened in ...
  • 19.8k
7 votes

Did anyone ever run out of stack space on the 6502?

It probably wasn't common for programs to use anywhere close to 256 bytes of storage as an actual stack which is accessed primarily via push/pop/jsr/rts. On the other hand, it was common for systems ...
  • 31.9k
7 votes

How could early UNIX OS comprise so few lines of code?

An additional reference point, Minix: MINIX 1.0 Andrew S. Tanenbaum created MINIX at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to exemplify the principles conveyed in his textbook, Operating Systems: Design ...
  • 673
7 votes

How did relay computers handle inductor flyback?

From electronics point of view, the simplest part that can be used for this purpose is a resistor across the relay coil. The inductive voltage spike will then have a maximum voltage of I · R, where I ...
  • 1,216

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