My hero! Shustek, APL/360 & 10 Years Later

It took Len Shustek, chairman of the board of trustees of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, 10 years to get permission from IBM to publish the APL/360 source code.  Not only has he gone and done it, he’s also written a wonderful companion explanatory essay to go along with its publication. Please see: The APL Programming Language Source Code

Congratulations, Len!  Thank you for your persistence.

(Special thanks to the ever vigilant Christian Langreiter for scooping this story)


6 Responses to “My hero! Shustek, APL/360 & 10 Years Later”

  • Thanks! I’ve just been looking at some of the code. Among other things I learned that “AS FOR SYSTEM PROGRAMMERS, EVERYONE K N O W S THEY’RE HONEST AND INCORRUPTIBLE.”

  • my favourite comment in the source code, “ISN’T THIS JUST GREAT”

    wow, assembly language. Not for the feint of heart.

    Another intriguing comment, “DO A GARBAGE COLLECTION”. Hey! Not fair. A language from c. 1970 language isn’t supposed to know about this yet. Are we talking about a forerunner to Java / C# style garbage collection?

  • aprogramminglanguage aprogramminglanguage

    Inspiring and hilarious comments, Rohan & Steven.

    And FYI EVERYONE – this is an awesome time to show up numerically as a community in web traffic stats! Click, Comment, Like & be counted. It matters.

  • This morning, when I read the fantastic news, I really had to sit back and look twice. Unbelievable!

    For quite a few years now I tried to find legally available old APL sources for s/3×0 systems, without any success. The closest was APL\1130 up to now, which was quite a challenge to get it assembled and running on an IBM 1130 simulator.

    From comments found on the web I assume that there is much more knowhow on APL\360 still around than it was for APL\1130. So, hopefully, it won’t last for long until we see it running!

    To start I’ve placed the good news in the Hercules-390 Yahoo group that discussed topics around s/3×0 systems and the Hercules emulator. People are already commenting 🙂

    Thanks a lot Len for getting IBM to give in and Catherine for your inspiring work on the APL film project!

  • Studying the source and the programming techniques used back in the ’60s is one side of the medal only, admittedly a very exciting one.

    On the other hand there presumably are quite some people around having used APL\360 back in the days, who might be interested in seeing that historic gem back alive, signing on and having the old times revive.

    The “MVT for APL” system, downloadable from

    allows just that: In a few easy steps it can be installed on a Windows or Linux system to automatically build APL\360 from source and bring it up. Just follow the step by step instructions in the “Installation and Use of APL\360” section of the User’s Manual to bring up your very own APL\360 system.

  • Excellent! Up and running in no time on Windows 7. Such a blast from the past. Brings back all of those memories in the computer lab of being clued to the selectric terminal.

    Thank you so very much.


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