Stack Computer book on-line 
Author Message
 Stack Computer book on-line

My stack computer architecture book has recently gone out of print,
but I still receive occasional inquiries as to availability.  The
former publisher, Ellis Horwood Ltd., has graciously returned the
copyright ownership to me.  So, I have decided to place the book
on-line at:
http://www.*-*-*.com/ ~koopman/stack_computers/index.html

The book contains, among other things, case studies of seven late-80's
stack computers.  Perhaps there is renewed relevance with Java (and,
perhaps not -- that question has already been debated at length).
The book is still copyrighted, but is readable in its entirety from
the above URL (see the copyright statement at that URL for details).

I don't have time, and there doesn't seem to be market demand at this
point, for a revised edition.  However, if you e-mail me pointers to
web sites that describe newer stack computer information, I will
consider putting them in the on-line supplement as time permits.

Happy reading!
-- Phil Koopman




Sun, 10 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line


"> My stack computer architecture book has recently gone out of print,
"> but I still receive occasional inquiries as to availability.  The
"> former publisher, Ellis Horwood Ltd., has graciously returned the
"> copyright ownership to me.  So, I have decided to place the book
"> on-line at:
"> http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~koopman/stack_computers/index.html
[.......]
"> Happy reading!

indeed!

[.......]

Hi Phil,

What a great Idea, thanks.

\
\ Luc Lefebvre                      
\ Montral, Canada



Mon, 11 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line



Quote:
>Thanks to Phil Koopman for putting his book on line. However,
>as Cliff Stoll notes in "Silicon Snake Oil", on-line documents
>are not as useful as hard copy ones.

When typewriters were first around they were used to make
rough drafts of letters that were subsequently hand-written
and mailed.

--
R. Kym Horsell

http://WWW.EE.LaTrobe.EDU.AU/~khorsell  http://CS.Binghamton.EDU/~kym



Tue, 12 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line


Quote:
>Re: the publisher "graciously returning Phil's copyright..."
>one should note that most book contracts have a clause requiring
>this as long as the book is not "in print".

Yes, I did indeed have such a clause, but it allowed a 9-month waiting
period for them to decide if the market supported a second
edition/reprinting.  They responded within a month of getting my
letter, and were indeed gracious about the matter.

Quote:
>... on-line documents are not as useful as hard copy ones.

That is a matter of opinion and debate.  You can't find my hard-copy
book by searching with Altavista, Lycos, Hotbot, etc. unless you get
lucky with the words in the on-line abstract I had in place.
(Eventually you will be able to find the on-line version with these
once it is indexed.)  I think that an on-line version will greatly
increase availability, especially to casual readers who wouldn't
bother with inter-library loan of what is a moderately difficult to
locate book.  I think it will also make it more readily available in
places such as Russia, where my former publisher refused a translation
opportunity because of the difficulty of turning a profit there a few
years back.

Quote:
>Perhaps with enough interest Phil would let FIG reprint his book,

Mountain View Press is working on it; see the on-line title page.  MVP
has a non-exclusive license, but I'd really be surprised if the market
supported enough volume to make competition worthwhile.  It will be
interesting to see whether hard-copy sales increase or decrease as a
result of web availability.

-- Phil
(follow-ups to comp.lang.forth)




Tue, 12 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line

Quote:

> My stack computer architecture book has recently gone out of print,
> but I still receive occasional inquiries as to availability.  The
> former publisher, Ellis Horwood Ltd., has graciously returned the
> copyright ownership to me.  So, I have decided to place the book
> on-line at:
> http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~koopman/stack_computers/index.html
> -- snip snip
> Happy reading!
> -- Phil Koopman



It seems that there are several classic, irreplaceable comp arch books
out of print, e.g.  
   Bucholz's Stretch book
   Thornton's 6600 book
   Organik's Multics book
   Wulf's Compiler Optimization and Hydra books

Is there any way that we can get the copyrights returned
to their authors and then figure out how to get them on-line?

Is there any way we can get Dover permission to reprint them?

What others ought to be made available in one of these ways?

John Ahlstrom

   Any system of neural organization sufficiently complex to
   generate the axioms of arithmetic is too complex to be
   understood by itself.
                           Kaekel's Conjecture



Tue, 12 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line



Quote:
> Thanks to Phil Koopman for putting his book on line. However,
> as Cliff Stoll notes in "Silicon Snake Oil", on-line documents
> are not as useful as hard copy ones.

On the contrary: if Koopman's book is properly indexed by altavista, then
I expect it to be much more valuable than it was in print.


Tue, 12 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line

Re: the publisher "graciously returning Phil's copyright..."
one should note that most book contracts have a clause requiring
this as long as the book is not "in print". Some publishers have
purveyed the copyright on some books to specialty publishers
who make Xerox copies of the original to order, at very high cost,
claiming that such a book is still "in print". Others try to call
a book that is electronically archived "in print". I do not believe
the courts would uphold either definition, but it could be expen-
sive to find out. So it is a good idea, when signing book contracts,
to look carefully at this clause's wording. It is also a good idea
not to give a publisher electronic rights to your work.

Thanks to Phil Koopman for putting his book on line. However,
as Cliff Stoll notes in "Silicon Snake Oil", on-line documents
are not as useful as hard copy ones.

Perhaps with enough interest Phil would let FIG reprint his book,
as Leo Brodie has done with "Thinking Forth". If the price were
moderate, most of us would acquire "Stack Machines" rather than
go to the trouble of downloading and making hard copy to read
in our spare time, and Phil could get some royalties.

--
Julian V. Noble



Tue, 12 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line

        [ remarks re: return of copyright deleted ]

Quote:
> Thanks to Phil Koopman for putting his book on line. However,
> as Cliff Stoll notes in "Silicon Snake Oil", on-line documents
> are not as useful as hard copy ones.

My reference to "Silicon Snake Oil" apparently touched a nerve.
I haven't received so many flames since the time I died and went
to Hell. (in a handbasket, of course :-)

To avoid being classified as a Luddite (look it up if you didn't
pay attention in History 101) of the Web, let me amplify the
above remark. In the following, "book" refers to ink on paper
pages sewn or glued together in sequence.

        1. A book is lighter and more portable than the smallest
           current machine that can access the Web.

        2. A book is still readable by candlelight, when the power
           fails and the battery dies.

        3. The print on a cheaply printed book page is far more
           legible than the output on the highest resolution display
           that is currently available to mere mortals. It is much
           easier on the eyes.

        4. Unless one is connected to the server by a very high speed
           line, cross-referencing by flipping a book page is far
           faster than the electronic analogue.

        5. It is easy to annotate a book with a low-tech device known
           as a pen. The annotation is permanent.

        6. When one reads a technical treatise ("Scientific FORTH",
           e.g.) in book form, while implementing its ideas on
           a computer, one does not lose one's place in a crash.

        7. Sitting with a book in one's lap does not waste expensive
           bandwidth on the network.

        8. A book written 50 years ago may still be read. Many of
           my programs from the 1970's and 1980's cannot be read since
           their media --punched tapes, punched cards, magnetic tapes--
           are now obsolete. Will CD-ROMs or magnetic disks of current
           type become as unreadable as 8" floppies now are?

If anyone wishes to refute the above points (politely--calling me an old
fogey is neither a refutation nor polite, no matter how true it might be),
I would be interested to read their views.

It seems to me that the individuals who flamed the hottest and most
incoherently have not considered the problems associated with on-line
books accessed by 28.8Kb modems. I suspect they do not have to pay
for access time, but receive it gratis from their institutions.

I really have tried to use on-line documentation (on my own machine)
in a multitasking system and with two separate computers. Even the
latter is not as good as having the book next to the machine. If
these observations (which I was glad to see Stoll agreed with) make
me a Luddite, so be it.

--
Julian V. Noble



Thu, 14 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line


Quote:
>    1. A book is lighter and more portable than the smallest
>       current machine that can access the Web.

Unless! Unless, you can store books locally on your HD/CD-ROM and you
live in a place like Hong Kong where most of the people do *NOT* have
several square miles to store books in.

I think if you compare the amount of information which can be stored
"inside" a laptop and in a texbook of the same physical dimensions
and/or weight you will be able
to see that you are actually saving space by using the electronic
form.

Andras



Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line


Quote:

>>        8. A book written 50 years ago may still be read. Many of
>>           my programs from the 1970's and 1980's cannot be read since
>>           their media --punched tapes, punched cards, magnetic tapes--
>>           are now obsolete. Will CD-ROMs or magnetic disks of current
>>           type become as unreadable as 8" floppies now are?

>Actually, I can still read 8" floppies and paper tape.  I really should
>clean the ba{*filter*}t.  Will the magnetic disk your book now resides on be
>readable in the future?  I guess that depends on if I decide your book has
>value and I want to take it with me when I move from magnetic disks to
>bioholocubes that use an alien technology found in the year 2015.  I'll
>simply click with my virtual reality helmet on your book and drag it to my
>bioholocube.  A pleasant sound will then announce your book has been moved
>to the next technology.  Wheee!

Before I get flamed, let me just mention that I like both online documentation
and printed documentation.  How's that for fence-sitting?

Having written that, I think the point Stoll was trying to make had more to do
with the process of historical research.  A large percentage of the time,
historians gather information from things that are not considered "valuable,"
such as draft documents, personal journals, letters, handwritten notes, etc.
A lot of that content may be lost since people won't feel it is worth
preserving, and media formats change much faster now, unlike paper; its basic
design has not changed for a while.

I picture a building full of History graduate students trying to maintain
obsolete computers so that old media can be read and converted.  "What the heck
is a DECtape, Jim?"

Also, I believe that I read a few years back that a lot of the raw data
collected in the 50s and 60s is now useless since the tape formats (probably
80-column card images) can't be interpreted without the original computer
programs.  Don't quote me on this, I can't remember the source...

--
Steve Alexander | Silicon Graphics, Inc.     | +1 (415) 933-6172 (Voice)



Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line

Quote:

> Before I get flamed, let me just mention that I like both online documentation
> and printed documentation.  How's that for fence-sitting?

I don't like tons of manuals with two-level index just to read the one page I need
(online manuals are a gift, not a burden). Today, I would not read novells on
computer screens.

Quote:
> I picture a building full of History graduate students trying to maintain
> obsolete computers so that old media can be read and converted.  "What the heck
> is a DECtape, Jim?"

ROTFL :-).

Quote:
> Also, I believe that I read a few years back that a lot of the raw data
> collected in the 50s and 60s is now useless since the tape formats (probably
> 80-column card images) can't be interpreted without the original computer
> programs.  Don't quote me on this, I can't remember the source...

It's more likely that the information on the tape is completely gone. I can't
imagine any higher level of cryptography applied to these tapes (Read Solomon
would be difficult enough), so even if the character set, the bit size and the
format is unknown, it can be easily retrieved using some cryptanalytic methods.

--
Bernd Paysan
"Late answers are wrong answers!"
http://www.informatik.tu-muenchen.de/~paysan/



Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line

Quote:
>    1. A book is lighter and more portable than the smallest
>       current machine that can access the Web.

Looking in the local technical libraries for the print version of your
book, I was unable to do so.  One place did say they could probably get it
with about a two week turn-around.  So while a book that *exists* may be
lighter and more portable, my current inability to get your book in
physical form renders this statement moot.  Or maybe not.  I guess a book I
don't currently have access to is indeed lighter (in fact, it is zero
kilograms).

Quote:
>    2. A book is still readable by candlelight, when the power
>       fails and the battery dies.

Of course, if the power failed and my batteries had died, I probably
wouldn't be working with my computer in the first place, and I probably
wouldn't want to read your book.  If it makes you feel any better, I could
go kill a few trees and use up some paper at work by printing out your
text.  Then I could indeed read it by candlelight.  Does reading your book
by candlelight make some of the passages more romantic or mysterious?  I
always found reading by candlelight to be awfully {*filter*} the eyes, which
leads us to your next point...

Quote:
>    3. The print on a cheaply printed book page is far more
>       legible than the output on the highest resolution display
>       that is currently available to mere mortals. It is much
>       easier on the eyes.

But you don't get that kewl rippling effect when you eat potato chips in
front of your CRT.  Actually, with my vision, I prefer reading books online
because I can do something you can't do with a book-- you can change the
font size or even change the font type to something more readable.

I guess you could do this with a book.  OCR the book.  Render it with your
favorite font at whatever size is best for your vision.  Print it out.
Gosh, I guess you got me there!  Books really are better!  Geez.

I should mention my blind friend.  He reads with a voice synthesizer.  Go
ahead and guess how valuable the printed version of your book is to him!

Quote:
>    4. Unless one is connected to the server by a very high speed
>       line, cross-referencing by flipping a book page is far
>       faster than the electronic analogue.

Solved that problem too.  I am bound by a 28.8k modem, so I downloaded all
of your HTML pages to my local hard drive with just a few clicks of my
magic mouse.  I then indexed them with some home-brew software.  Now I can
instantly jump to any occurrence of a word or phrase as fast as I can
type.

Quote:
>    5. It is easy to annotate a book with a low-tech device known
>       as a pen. The annotation is permanent.

Since I have your book downloaded to my hard drive, I can annotate your
book with a device known as a text editor-- the same device (I assume) you
wrote the book with in the first place.  Or did you dunk your quill into an
inkwell and carefully pen each letter?

Here's something else to consider.  If I did have a printed version of your
book, I certainly could decorate the pages with all sorts of notes.  But
those are *my* notes.  What about *your* updates and corrections to the
book?  With your online version, you can issue a change instantly.

I did see a horror movie once where this dead guy who wrote a book was able
to change the text of printed copies of the book FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!
Unless you have tapped into that same supernatural power, having your book
online is just a tad better.  You don't have to sign any pacts with Satan,
and you don't have to cover yourself with ectoplasm.

Quote:
>    6. When one reads a technical treatise ("Scientific FORTH",
>       e.g.) in book form, while implementing its ideas on
>       a computer, one does not lose one's place in a crash.

Got me there.  Of course, my code never crashes... much.

Here's another stunning revelation.  If the computer crashes, I'm probably
going to be more interested in rebooting it than reading your book.  True,
my mind does start to wander while the pretty Microsoft logo flashes up on
the screen for all of 30 seconds.  I usually use this as a time to pause
and reflect on the day, rifle off a couple quick daily affirmations, and
scratch my butt.  So I guess I simply wouldn't have the time to read your
book after the crash.

Maybe this affects people on UNIX boxes more, because they typically take a
couple minutes to boot.  When I'm in front of my UNIX box, system crashes
usually trigger me to get up and get a snack.  Maybe this is another
benefit of your printed book-- if I did have it there, I probably wouldn't
eat that candy bar I know I shouldn't.

Quote:
>    7. Sitting with a book in one's lap does not waste expensive
>       bandwidth on the network.

But it does prevent your love-slave from sitting in your lap and disrupting
your thoughts of computer science with raw lusty sex.  Hubba hubba.
Actually, again, I downloaded your book to my hard drive.  I have *zero*
network bandwidth being used when I read your book.  The initial download
happened when I was asleep, so I really didn't care how long it took.
Actually, it ended up taking far less time to download your book than most
of the {*filter*} in the alt.* newsgroups.  

Quote:
>    8. A book written 50 years ago may still be read. Many of
>       my programs from the 1970's and 1980's cannot be read since
>       their media --punched tapes, punched cards, magnetic tapes--
>       are now obsolete. Will CD-ROMs or magnetic disks of current
>       type become as unreadable as 8" floppies now are?

Actually, I can still read 8" floppies and paper tape.  I really should
clean the ba{*filter*}t.  Will the magnetic disk your book now resides on be
readable in the future?  I guess that depends on if I decide your book has
value and I want to take it with me when I move from magnetic disks to
bioholocubes that use an alien technology found in the year 2015.  I'll
simply click with my virtual reality helmet on your book and drag it to my
bioholocube.  A pleasant sound will then announce your book has been moved
to the next technology.  Wheee!

Of course, I might find your book boring useless trash.  In which case I
won't copy it to my bioholocube.  But gosh, if I found the digital version
of your book boring useless trash, what great loss is there if I can't copy
it?  Consider the alternative.  I'm cleaning out the ba{*filter*}t (finally) and
come across your printed book of boring useless trash.  I make a decision
to toss it in the garbage.  Guess what-- in either physical or digital
form, that book is no longer accessible!  Although it probably will
contribute to a landfill project somewhere.

To be clear, I find your book very valuable, not boring useless trash.
That's just a dramatic device.  For effect, or something.

Quote:
> I really have tried to use on-line documentation (on my own machine)
> in a multitasking system and with two separate computers. Even the
> latter is not as good as having the book next to the machine. If
> these observations (which I was glad to see Stoll agreed with) make
> me a Luddite, so be it.

Stoll makes some great points about actually taking the time to *think*
about how technology may affect us.  It's often subtle and can sometimes be
slightly sinister.  (I love alliteration.)  And he is certainly fun to
watch his overly animated speeches.  But Stoll (like you) seems stuck in
his own idiom.  You can spend so much time analyzing the effects of
technology that you never go forward.  Recognize that while you find online
text to be less useful than printed text, some of us have other ways of
working that makes it *more* useful.

I am very glad you made your book available electronically.  I will
probably purchase the printed version when I get a chance or the local
bookstores can find it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
John Passaniti         He says to me, "You've got style, baby.  But if

                       get a gimmick."  And so I go, I say, "a gimmick,
                       yeah, that's it!  HIGH EXPLOSIVES!  AH-HAHAHA!"



Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 Stack Computer book on-line



: >>      8. A book written 50 years ago may still be read. Many of
: >>         my programs from the 1970's and 1980's cannot be read since
: >>         their media --punched tapes, punched cards, magnetic tapes--
: >>         are now obsolete. Will CD-ROMs or magnetic disks of current
: >>         type become as unreadable as 8" floppies now are?
: >
: >Actually, I can still read 8" floppies and paper tape.  I really should
: >clean the ba{*filter*}t.  Will the magnetic disk your book now resides on be
: >readable in the future?  I guess that depends on if I decide your book has
: >value and I want to take it with me when I move from magnetic disks to
: >bioholocubes that use an alien technology found in the year 2015.  I'll
: >simply click with my virtual reality helmet on your book and drag it to my
: >bioholocube.  A pleasant sound will then announce your book has been moved
: >to the next technology.  Wheee!

: Before I get flamed, let me just mention that I like both online documentation
: and printed documentation.  How's that for fence-sitting?

: Having written that, I think the point Stoll was trying to make had more to do
: with the process of historical research.  A large percentage of the time,
: historians gather information from things that are not considered "valuable,"
: such as draft documents, personal journals, letters, handwritten notes, etc.
: A lot of that content may be lost since people won't feel it is worth
: preserving, and media formats change much faster now, unlike paper; its basic
: design has not changed for a while.

: I picture a building full of History graduate students trying to maintain
: obsolete computers so that old media can be read and converted.  "What the heck
: is a DECtape, Jim?"

: Also, I believe that I read a few years back that a lot of the raw data
: collected in the 50s and 60s is now useless since the tape formats (probably
: 80-column card images) can't be interpreted without the original computer
: programs.  Don't quote me on this, I can't remember the source...

An Economist article some time ago mentioned that some sizable collection
of tapes (about Nixon?) can only be read by one machine.  (May be someone
can recall the story better, I cannot check because I only keep issues up
to about 3 months for lack of space.)

- c f chong.

: --
: Steve Alexander | Silicon Graphics, Inc.     | +1 (415) 933-6172 (Voice)



Fri, 15 Jan 1999 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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