RE: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind programmers

  • From: "Ken Perry" <whistler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2011 20:06:09 -0400

I think we are just going to have to disagree on this.  While I doubt anyone
is going to rush out and write a bit of Machine language I think it is still
important to know how.  It's sort of like saying it's not important to know
that there is a linker and what it does most people on this list will never
know what the linker does because they deal mainly with High level languages
but that doesn't mean the linker is not important.  Most people will never
write machine language but when creating electronic circuits with smaller
chips it is a useful tool.  True you may never hand write it but in creating
hardware it is very useful in reading it.  I just found learning to write it
was very useful back in the good old Hack hardware cartridges days.  Sure
the Intel book has both got bigger and more complex but I just saw a post
where a guy wrote a hello world in Machine language just to prove it could
be done.  Now I will point out he did it in Linux and he had to make his own
linker of sorts well a shell linker all it did was write the file with the
numbers he wanted but I think he did that just so he could use a normal
editor and he had to add the Aelf stuff on top but he did it in 120 bites
which I find pretty impressive since 80 of the bites were AELF stuff. 
Anyway I am sure we are boring most of the people on this list.

Ken

  

-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
Coale
Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 7:39 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
programmers

Wait, you are adding new stuff in here. Yes, to me, it is important to 
know how to optimize code for either size or speed. It is also important 
to know how programs are executed and created (knowing the PE32 format, 
for example); however, knowing how to write a program by scratch by 
using a hex editor and writing pure byte code is not important. And, you 
are misinterpreting my reason for saying it is not important. I'm not 
saying it's not important because it is nasty studying. I'm saying it is 
not important because it is simply not practical and teaches you no more 
than studying assembly and operating systems (assuming you are actually 
learning). And I didn't say it wasn't useful, either. Knowledge for 
knowledge's sake is always good. But, I said it wasn't important. You 
seem to be mixing up the knowledge required to do something and the 
knowledge gained from doing said thing. In order to start editing a 
program using a hex editor, you have to already have the knowledge to do 
it (as in, you have to know that there is a data section, a symbolic 
table, etc.). You gain no new knowledge (aside from knowing how to edit 
executables) from editing, and/or writing, executables from within a 
hex-editor.

On 4/9/2011 3:59 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
> Oh really?  I found it very useful knowing how to minimize code and data
> sections by hand.  It explains what compilers and linkers have to go
through
> and ways to get around problems that exist.  It even is nice knowing how
exe
> files are laid out.  I agree that it's a nasty bit of study to get to that
> point but I totally disagree that the knowledge is not useful.  In fact if
> you ever want to get involved with the GNU compiler group believe me it's
> useful.
>
>
> Ken
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
> Coale
> Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 6:52 PM
> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
> programmers
>
> My knowledge of how the processor works (by means of knowing assembly
> and OS development) is useful. Knowing how to write a program using only
> byte code is not (and I couldn't do it without many free hours and lots
> of reference manuals, and even then it would be a difficult task). Not
> to belittle your knowledge, but I'm just saying that being able to write
> a program using a hex-editor (and if you can, more power to you) is not
> very helpful in understanding how computers work; learning assembly and
> learning operating system design is where it is important, I would say.
>
> On 4/9/2011 3:45 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
>> Yes and us true geeks used to dream hex in our sleep.  I think there are
>> still some of us left and I am no longer one, I know of all the
>> possibilities and I can still code in ASM for burning chips but I no
> longer
>> dream in op codes and registers, memory locations and IRQ's.  All I was
>> saying is learning of the existence and how it works is invaluable to a
>> programmer even today.  Are you telling me your knowledge of the subject
> is
>> not useful?
>>
>> Ken
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
>> Coale
>> Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 3:30 PM
>> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
>> programmers
>>
>> I didn't say it was impossible (after all, how else would a compiler
>> work?) I said that it was asinine and impractical.  I say this because
>> the x86 instruction set is amazingly complex. Sure someone could use a
>> debugger to look around at machine code, that's not hard at all (in
>> fact, I do it a lot with vc++ to debug things and get performance
>> boosts). But, writing a binary file from scratch? I see it being
>> possible, but you would need to know the encoding of every instruction
>> you use. For example, "int imm8" is apparently 0xCD + the immediate
>> byte, so to do int 80h, you'd have 0xCD80. That is fairly simple, but
>> the "mov" instructions where you can have memory, immediate, and
>> register operands are difficult, and then for each memory, immediate,
>> and register operand you have an 8-bit, 16-bit, 32-bit, and for x64,
>> 64-bit versions. It's no small feat to write a binary by hand.
>>
>>> Laugh yes I have read them and there was a time I could write some very
>> good
>>> stuff with nothing but a debugger.  Just because it's nasty don't mean
>> it's
>>> impossible.  I was not even in the same class of some of the guys I used
>> to
>>> hang out with.  I knew one that won a programming contest who wrote a
>>> program to display a naked woman with nothing more than Assembler and a
>> text
>>> editor.  As for machine language you can write it on your own if you
know
>>> enough.  Unfortunately time has dulled my memory of useless interrupts
>>> because we have so much easier ways to do things now.  I think I could
>>> probably get a command line app to run with nothing but a hex editor but
>>> calling the GUI might be beyond me because you would have to do some
>> serious
>>> digging to get that to work and sometimes the information is just not
>>> available anymore.
>>>
>>> Ken
>>>
>>>
>>> Ken
>>>
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Christopher
>>> Coale
>>> Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2011 2:23 AM
>>> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
>>> programmers
>>>
>>> What? Have you ever read the x86 information sheets? Teaching someone
>>> assembly is a good way to teach them how a computer works -- having them
>>> write programs in pure byte code (especially for x86) is both asinine
>>> and impractical.  Maybe not so much for an extremely extremely simple
>>> virtual machine or basic processor, but complex instruction sets like
>>> x86 are flat-out beyond writing op-codes by hand. If you don't believe
>>> me, just take a poke at the NASM source code. ;)
>>>
>>> On 4/8/2011 6:47 PM, Ken Perry wrote:
>>>> I am not quite as old as you but I come from the same time zone.  I had
>> to
>>>> learn assembler to hack games on the Vic 20 and the commodore 64 and
the
>>> TI
>>>> but more than that when I joined the Air Force and took on Electronics
>>>> Assembler made my life easier.  Then later in life after I lost my site
> I
>>>> took software engineering and had to burn chips and while we could have
>>>> wrote stuff in C it was much easier to control the registers and stuff
>>> with
>>>> ASM.  If we used C we allot of the time had to use special assembler
>>>> keywords to get things to work quite right.  If you look on the Fruit
>>> Basket
>>>> page I was also insane enough to write the fruit basket in Assembler
for
>>>> windows xp and it runs in vista.  I am not sure if that runs in Windows
> 7
>>>> but I should revisit it and make sure it does.  Lost knowledge is not a
>>> good
>>>> thing.  Assembler may not be a way I would write a project now days but
>> if
>>>> you want to teach someone how your computers work there is only one
> thing
>>>> better.  The one thing better is straight opt codes using a debugger
and
>>>> watching what is going on.  Well you could also write straight binary
>>> files
>>>> like a good Fortran coder but who does that any more.  That what I
> should
>>> do
>>>> is create the fruit basket with nothing but a hex editor.
>>>>
>>>> Ken
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> [mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Bill Cox
>>>> Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 11:40 AM
>>>> To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>>> Subject: Re: Searching for blind programmer to start a school for blind
>>>> programmers
>>>>
>>>> On Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 11:16 AM, Littlefield,
Tyler<tyler@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Assember?  Really?  You must be almost as old
>>>>>> as me!  I can't even find people who care about speed or memory usage
>>>>>> anymore.
>>>>> I love assembler. It's a great way to teach people what's going on
> under
>>>> the
>>>>> hood and make them think about what they do. Every time I see someone
>>>>> reserve a 100k buffer just because, I cringe. :)
>>>> We must be from the same generation.  I'm 47, and learned to program
>>>> in machine code on an 8080 based Intel board with a hex keypad and
>>>> some LEDs.  It was a couple of years before I found out that people
>>>> programmed using assemblers, rather than entering hex by hand.
>>>>
>>>> I worry that the new generation's early experience with computers is
>>>> amazing games and technology so complex they could never realistically
>>>> hope to understand it.  What's the natural path now days for kids to
>>>> go from playing computer games to writing them?  On the old Apple IIs,
>>>> you just typed list instead of run, and there was all the code.
>>>>
>>>> Bill
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