Reply to post: Re: A byte for the year

Reliable system was so reliable, no one noticed its licence had expired... until it was too late

Peter Gathercole Silver badge

Re: A byte for the year

Actually, most business software at the time often implemented integers including dates as Packed Binary Coded Decimal, storing one decimal number in a 4 bit nibble, so two digits in a single 8 bit byte.

This was the case for a lot of COBOL and RPG programs, two of the languages most often used for business applications.

Many machines actually included instructions to do arithmetic in packed BCD, including s/360, VAX, Burroughs, and even the 68000 (this list comes from Wikipedia, but I knew about s/360 and VAX).

Other systems using 12, 24 and 36 bit words would store 3, 6 and 9 decimal digits in their word. Some of the 24 and 36 bit word length systems also used 6 bit characters, with 4 or 6 characters encoded in a single word.

Honestly, youngsters today, No sense of history! They think x86 is the be-all and end-all of processors.

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