Screw Bjarne

In the world of programming languages, Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup is a very well-known and respected name. Stroustrup has not only been the head of AT&T Bell Labs’ “Large-scale Programming Research” department for many years but he is also the father of the widely used object-oriented C++ programming language, that he officially released in 1983.

At the end of the Eighties Apple developers decided to start supporting the new language in the Mac Programmer’s Workshop (MPW), at the time the official IDE to create Macintosh software.

Screw BjarneThe effort wasn’t without hitches and C++’s logic caused bouts of frustration, vented in some funny ways. Among them was a “Talking Bjarne” application and most of all the production a of a geeky t-shirt featuring a picture of Stroustrup’s head pierced by a giant screw.

According to Landon Dyer, who made the t-shirt, the image was meant to be an irreverent statement around the fact that he thought that C++ was really “screwed up”, although the message which actually came through was a more direct, and liberating, “Screw Bjarne”.

When Stroustrup came to Apple to give a lecture, Dyer gave him one of the t-shirts and apparently the father of C++ wasn’t angry and seemed delighted to have made such a strong impression on Infinite Loop’s developers.

The image is taken from

Tuesday 09 February 2016, 12:29 pm
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CLImax: yet another shell before Mac OS X

There are many misconceptions about the Macintosh before the arrival of Mac OS X. One of them is the absence of a shell, a command line interface.

about CLImaxAlthough it is true that until 2001 Apple never provided one out of the box, there have been many ways to obtain such an interface, including Apple’s own MPW package for developers and a plethora of third parts applications and utilities. Among these was an AppleScript command interface for the System 7 called CLImax that was developed around 1996 by Drew Thaler.

Since we interviewed Drew a while ago about his work for Apple we also asked him to tell us the background story about this peculiar shell for the so-called “Classic” Mac OS.
Drew Thaler: I was in university at the time, and everyone in the engineering department spent a lot of time using the command-line interfaces on Unix systems. (SunOS, HP-UX, Apollo, etc.) The Mac had a few types of command-lines — MPW, MacPerl, and so on – but there was no reason to use most of them, because really the way you interacted with the Mac was through GUI apps and that’s where your data was kept.

But there was a text-based way to talk to the GUI applications on your Mac: AppleScript.

Friday 19 December 2008, 11:18 am
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