[TUHS] Unix emacs at Bell Labs and elsewhere

Erik E. Fair fair-tuhs at netbsd.org
Thu Apr 6 16:57:20 AEST 2017


Jason,
	There was a Unix-based emacs from the Labs, back in the day: Warren Montgomery's emacs.

	https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.emacs/f7L4OYbJT5U

It was installed on the UCB Cory Hall PDP-11/70 running 2.8 BSD when I gained access (an account) to it in January 1981. I used Montgomery emacs as my transition aid to Unix because TECO-based EMACS was the first screen-oriented editor I had learned to use on the CERAS DECsystem-20/60 running TOPS-20, during a 1978 summer school session at Stanford.

I switched to vi relatively rapidly that winter - it faster, and I disliked having one finger on the "control" key all day long. However, I've never forgotten a series of emacs key bindings, and that's been ... useful in a wide range of circumstances where I've encountered other systems put together by people from that "culture" (e.g. Cisco IOS). I also claim to have made an informed choice of text editor: I use vi and prefer it, despite having learned emacs first.

Perhaps someone else here can speak to how widely Montgomery emacs was used at Bell Labs or elsewhere.

	Erik Fair


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