[PD] code and compilers

Bryan Jurish moocow at ling.uni-potsdam.de
Sat Dec 8 21:46:14 CET 2007

morning all,

On 2007-12-08 21:08:29, Mathieu Bouchard <matju at artengine.ca> appears to
have written:
> On Sat, 8 Dec 2007, Andrew Brouse wrote:
>> An old-school hacker (poet turned progammer, classic!) once told me
>> that he used to debug his programmes (on mainframes, with not even 1M
>> of memory) by actually just watching a display of activity in all
>> memory locations. After a while, he just subconsciously internalised
>> what was going on and managed to debug the code.
> This can't possibly be used nowadays, but there are better ways of
> visualising code. Because C values are typed, you can (to a certain
> extent), view the data topologically, by following pointers, which get
> drawn like arrows that are connecting boxes containing data. This is
> what DDD does (it's a GDB wrapper). This is more useful because the
> positions in memory are somewhat meaningless, because the connectedness
> of the data happens because the program follows pointers rather than
> using any arithmetic other than for a single array or struct.

In fact, i recently spent about 2 days chasing a bug in some old code of
mine that i only managed to track down by looking at the literal memory
positions, and if I had had a spiffy blinky pseudo-analogue StarTrek
kind of data display, I probably would have seen the bug immediately,
whereas it took me the said 2 days using ddd.... oh well ;-)

	Bryan (philosopher-turned-hacker)

Bryan Jurish                           "There is *always* one more bug."
jurish at ling.uni-potsdam.de      -Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology

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