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Showing posts from August, 2007

Why you don't want to code for a government department

Back in the mists of time, straight after my doctorate, I worked for a UK start-up called Madge Networks initially maintaining device drivers that implemented LLC, NetBIOS, IPX/SPX protocols and then writing a TCP/IP stack. Most of this work was done in C and assembler (x86 and TMS380).

When I first joined the company I was sent on an x86 assembly training course run by QA Training. (It rained on the first day and we were locked out so one of the company big cheeses ran over with QA Training umbrellas; to this day I use that umbrella).

During the course we were asked to write a simple function in C. I've forgotten what it was, but let's say it was a classic factorial function. I wrote something like:

unsigned int fac( unsigned int i )
{
if ( i < 2 ) {
return 1;
}

return i * fac( i - 1 );
}

Later we looked at an assembly equivalent of the function, but before that I took at look at the person sitting next to me. His function looked like this:

unsigned int aq456( u…