[Coco] Linville's ramblings on assembly vs machine code

Mark McDougall msmcdoug at iinet.net.au
Mon Jul 10 07:11:12 EDT 2017

On 10/07/2017 4:20 PM, Dave Philipsen wrote:

> In my personal opinion, I can see why an instructor would want his 
> students to at least get a taste of how entering raw numerical data as 
> 'machine code' actually works.
> So, yes, it doesn't make much sense to 'learn' machine language or code 
> with it.  But, it makes a lot of sense to understand it fundamentally. 

I'm yet to listen to the aforementioned episode of The CocoCrew (I'm 
currently binge-listening to catch up) but you've certainly piqued my 

To be honest, I would have probably sided with John, but you make some 
compelling arguments. I guess having cut my teeth on Z80 and having 
practiced (most probably) equal amounts of ML and ASM back in the day I 
never gave it a second thought. I guess, like Jim, I would have been 
somewhat surprised that the 'debate' merited a segment on the show. But 
I guess now this very thread proves otherwise! ;)

I suppose for us oldies who were raised first on BASIC, then ML/ASM, we 
sometimes forget that a lot of people just learning eg. 6809 now are 
coming from completely different experiences; either merely memories of 
BASIC from decades ago or more modern languages so far removed from ML 
that they give no insight into the subtle distinction between ML & ASM.

I do suspect, however, that one doesn't get too far programming ASM 
without encountering ML along the way, either debugging, examining their 
own listings, or even patching code.  Perhaps infrequent dabbling can be 
done without much exposure, but undertaking a major ASM project would 
likely result in a decent understanding of the resultant ML during the 


Mark McDougall

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