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SEX (computers)

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SEX is the assembly language mnemonic often used for Sign EXtend, a machine instruction found in the PDP-11 and many other architectures. The RCA 1802[?] chip used in the early Elf[?] and SuperElf[?] personal computers had a "SEt X register" SEX instruction, but this seems to have had little folkloric impact.

DEC's engineers nearly got a PDP-11 assembler that used the "SEX" mnemonic out the door at one time, but (for once) marketing wasn't asleep and forced a change. That wasn't the last time this happened, either. The author of "The Intel 8086 Primer", who was one of the original designers of the Intel 8086, noted that there was originally a "SEX" instruction on that processor, too. He says that Intel management got cold feet and decreed that it be changed, and thus the instruction was renamed "CBW" and "CWD" (depending on what was being extended). The Intel 8048 (the microcontroller used in IBM PC keyboards) is also missing straight "SEX" but has logical-or and logical-and instructions "ORL" and "ANL".

The Motorola 6809, used in Radio Shack's[?] TRS-80 Color Computer and UK's "Dragon 32" personal computer, actually had an official "SEX" instruction; the 6502 in the Apple II with which it competed did not. British hackers thought this made perfect mythic sense; after all, it was commonly observed, you could (on some theoretical level) have sex with a dragon, but you can't have sex with an apple.

Based on SEX (http://www.tuxedo.org/~esr/jargon/html/entry/SEX) from the Jargon File.

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