ROM Based Procedural Language (RPL)??


I was reading through HP's 35 year anniversary page when I noticed this description of the HP-28C, near the bottom:

1987 HP-28C: First full RPL calculator
In the late 1980s, HP developed a new programming language
for its new series of extremely powerful calculators. By
combing (sic) elements of RPN, Lisp and Forth, HP came up
with a language called RPL (or ROM-based Procedural Language).

Is this just a marketing goof or is their precedent for this expansion of "RPL?"



Hi Howard.

Even though I already heard about that weird definition (see for example:

I'd rather stick to what William C. Wickes (the RPL "founding father" :) says in his book "RPL: A Mathematical Control Language":

Several existing operating systems and languages were considered, but none could meet all of the design objectives.
A new system was therefore developed, which merges the threaded interpretation of Forth with the functional approach of Lisp.
The resulting operating system, known unofficially as RPL (for Reverse-Polish Lisp), made its first public appearance in June of 1986 in the HP-18C Business Consultant calculator

I took the quote from RPLman, as, alas, I don't have a copy of Bill Wickes' book :(

Hope this helps.

Best regards.



From "A Guide to HP Handheld Calculators and Computers" by W. A. C. Mier-Jedrzejowicz:

RPL stands for Reverse Polish Lisp - it combined the RPN calculator language of earlier models with features of the Lisp and Forth programming languages. For a time HP explained the letters RPL as an acronym for "ROM-based Procedural Language."

So there is precedent for this within HP. Perhaps "Lisp" and "Forth" were (and maybe still are) subject to copyright or trademark restrictions, so the "official" line had to be that RPL stood for something else.


I have never heard of copyright restrictions on the names of programming languages before, so I don't think that's the reason. I think it is merely that HP thought (probably rightly) that the phrase "Reverse Polish Lisp" would strike fear and terror into the hearts of almost anyone! (Members of this forum excluded, of course ;-)



Some non-members will spell-check it as "reverse polish lips", what might be associated with some makeup trick, i.e.: the usage of lipstick by passing it backwards (or in other unorthodox manner) to make the mouth to have a shiny appeareance.


Oh, RPN stands for "Reversely Polished Nails", by the way...

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Writing RPL programs on OS X Sean Freeman 18 2,603 11-30-2013, 03:59 PM
Last Post: Sean Freeman
  48G vs 49G+ User RPL Speed Comparison John Colvin 7 1,172 11-16-2013, 10:07 PM
Last Post: Han
  RPL 32 David Hayden 4 997 11-11-2013, 11:34 AM
Last Post: David Hayden
  HHC / HP Museum Programming Contest for RPN and RPL machines Gene Wright 18 2,468 09-22-2013, 09:39 AM
Last Post: Miguel Toro
  HP85 Programmable ROM cardtridge 82929A-service ROM not working- inaki 2 920 04-25-2013, 08:08 AM
Last Post: inaki
  shelf life time of a ROM, EEPROM, EPROM vs Mask Rom Guido (Canada) 6 1,341 01-11-2013, 04:09 PM
Last Post: Thomas Falk
  HP-9100 used in computer-based education (video) Juergen Keller 5 1,133 12-07-2012, 11:04 AM
Last Post: hpnut
  RPL long vs. short names peacecalc 5 988 10-30-2012, 01:25 PM
Last Post: peacecalc
  Big ROM - 41 System DEMO ROM Ángel Martin 5 1,206 10-16-2012, 05:28 AM
Last Post: Ángel Martin
  Mini-challenge: HHC2012 RPL programming contest with larger input David Hayden 14 1,928 10-05-2012, 10:36 PM
Last Post: David Hayden

Forum Jump: