[TUHS] Happy birthday, Dennis Ritchie!

Doug McIlroy doug at cs.dartmouth.edu
Thu Sep 21 20:11:03 AEST 2017


> When you say MIT you think about ITS and Lisp.  That is why emacs IMHO
> was against UNIX ideals.  RMS was thinking in different terms than Bell
> Labs hackers.

Very different. Once, when visiting the Lisp machine, I saw astonishingly
irrelevant things being done as first class emacs commands, and asked
how many commands there were. The instant answer was to have emacs 
print the list. Nice, but it scrolled way beyond one screenful. I
persisted: could the machine count them? It took several minutes of
head-scratching and false starts to do a task that was second nature
to Unix hands.

With hindsight, I realize that the thousand emacs commands were but a
foretaste of open-source exuberance--witness this snippet from Linux:
	!ls /usr/share/man/man2|wc
	    468     468    6766
Even a "kernel" is as efflorescent as a tropical rainforest.


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