Debugging “hello, world”

The Go command (g) will run the program starting at the given address (in this case, CS:0100) If everything goes right, the program should output the intended “hello, world!” string, and finish with the message “Program terminated normally.”

Yesterday, we took a break after long hours of intensive coding, and a coworker started establishing similarities between our current frantic coding and the (fortunately) gone days of college homework. I specifically recalled a project I had to build by using MS-DEBUG: a simple calculator in assembly, which also required the hassle of dealing with pretty and safe user input. I have no intention of looking for such listings, but I thought about revisiting, for a moment, the old and dear friend MS-DEBUG 🙂 I’ll harness a previous post in this blog, and try to build a little ‘hello, world’ program in MS-DEBUG. I know this has little value outside a personal feeling and a tad of nostalgia, maybe.

I remember that a 100 tells DEBUG to accept code in memory starting out from CS:0100. Ok.

Now comes the data, which here simply consist of the string 'hello, world!'. A neat output, however, would require newlines before and after our intended string. A newline is comprised of a carriage return (CR = ASCII 13) and a line feed (LF = ASCII 10) on the display. As DEBUG only understand hexadecimal numbers, we must use 0Dh and 0Ah for CR and LF, respectively. Except in code, we will represent hexadecimal numbers by following the value with ‘h’.) Fortunately, DEBUG also admits ASCII characters directly (and the pseudo-instructions DB and DW!), so we can express our complete string as

db 0d,0a,"hello, world!",0d,0a,"$"

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