For the kids on my lawn, ed(1) is a whole man page of humor.

I thought that "special character" trope was written by dmr. He certainly loved it. Also didn't it originate in something about regular expressions, like the ed or grep page? Doug can confirm.


On Thu, Mar 11, 2021 at 7:18 AM Ken Thompson <> wrote:

back to original title - manual humour.
my favorite was in the "form" command.
-- credit to mcilroy.

"If one of the special characters [{]}\ is preceded
by a \, it loses its special character."

On Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 11:50 AM Andy Kosela <> wrote:
On 3/10/21, Andreas Kusalananda Kähäri <> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 09, 2021 at 06:51:56PM -0500, Steve Nickolas wrote:
>> On Wed, 10 Mar 2021, Rob Pike wrote:
>> > I'm curious when people (other than me) erred and stopped saying that
>> > ed
>> > was the standard editor.
>> >
>> > -rob
>> >
>> I actually use that expression in somewhat unorthodox ways. ;)
>> Like "CDE is the standard desktop environment like ed is the standard
>> text
>> editor." (I still consider both to be true even though about no one uses
>> either anymore.)
>> -uso.
> Hi, I'm "about no one".  I use ed(1) every once in a while, both the
> way it was supposed to be used, i.e. interactively, and occasionally
> scripted on smaller documents.
> I'm soon 50.  Having grown up with computers, and having spent most of
> my money as a student buying the next bigger and/or faster PC, I find
> that I nowadays enjoy smaller, slower systems and simpler editors more
> and more.  Getting distracted by syntax highligting, confused by too
> complicated configurations... There is a certain beauty in the editing
> language of ed(1).  It's minimalistic and restrictive, and therefore
> forces you to think, to remember, and to be creative.

This comment resonates with me so much.  I am enjoying these days
mostly retro systems too -- computers I grew up with.  There is a
certain beauty in the term "less is more".  And nothing is more
satisfying than sitting in front of a CRT terminal (either some real
terminal or PC) and working in a full screen text mode.  No GUIs, no
distractions -- just pure conversation with a machine using only text.
That's UNIX for me.

These days there have been a huge resurgence of various retro
communities around the world.  There are still tons of new programs
and games being published for 8-bit micro's or Amiga's.  Still it
appears the Unix community in general is not part of that movement.  I
think TUHS is an exception and a haven for people who just prefer the
old ways.  I find Unix these days too bloated and moved away from its
main core values: simplicity and minimalism.  The hardware was much
simpler too back in the days.

Long live the ed(1) and vi(1).