I have just posted version 4.1 of the FIST program, Fourmilab’s vintage emphatic message generator. The release corrects a buffer overflow in the image assembly code, revises the
Makefile generation procedure to avoid a warning message, and breaks up a large initialiser in the code to prevent out-of-memory errors from the
cweave Literate Programming tool used to build the program.
I originally wrote FIST in September, 1969 on punch cards in the Case Algol 60 language for the Univac 1108. In August 1981, I translated it to Marinchip QBASIC for the Marinchip 9900 and included on a freeware “extras” floppy. In October 1985, I ported it to Kernighan and Ritchie C, compiled with a variety of compilers used by Autodesk at the time. In November 2001, I updated it to ANSI C, restructured the code as a Literate Program using Donald Knuth’s
CWEB system, and added the left-handed, scaled, and no fist option, as well as the ability specify a custom fill pattern.
The original FIST program is known for having appeared as an illustration in an article published in the Great Swamp Erie Da Da Boom containing text produced by a computerised Maoist propaganda generator I wrote which is, sadly, now lost in the mists of time.
Starting with version 4.1, the master source code for FIST is developed on and archived at GitHub, making it easier for those using it to track changes, report bugs, and submit changes for inclusion in the program.