[TUHS] Graphic Systems C/A/T phototypesetter
clemc at ccc.com
Thu Dec 12 00:12:28 AEST 2013
Steve - great story. Clem
On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 5:11 PM, <scj at yaccman.com> wrote:
> One of the most amusing and unexpected consequences of phototypesetting
> was the Unix standard error file (!). After phototypesetting, you had to
> take a long wide strip of paper and feed it carefully into a smelly, icky
> machine which eventually (several minutes later) spat out the paper with
> the printing visible.
> One afternoon several of us had the same experience -- typesetting
> something, feeding the paper through the developer, only to find a single,
> beautifully typeset line: "cannot open file foobar" The grumbles were
> loud enough and in the presence of the right people, and a couple of days
> later the standard error file was born...
> > On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 09:45:22AM -0500, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> >> > The wikipedia description
> >> > <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAT_(phototypesetter)>
> >> > seems pretty accurate although I have never seen the beast myself.
> >> I can confirm the wikipedia description. At Bell Labs, however, we
> >> did not use paper tape input. As soon as the machine arrived, Joe
> >> Ossanna bypassed the tape reader so the C/A/T could be driven
> >> directly from the PDP-11. The manufacturer was astonished.
> >> The only operational difficulty we had was with the separate
> >> developer. If you didn't hand feed the end of the paper perfectly
> >> straight into that machine, the paper would tear. Joe Condon
> >> fixed that by arranging for the canister to sit on rollers so
> >> it could give when the paper pulled sideways.
> >> The first technical paper that came off the C/A/T drew a query
> >> from the journal editor, who'd never seen a phototypeset
> >> manuscript before: had it been published elsewhere?
> >> Doug
> > I'm extremely jealous of you. I'm a long time troff fan and would have
> > loved to have been there during that time. I'm sure it was far less
> > pleasant than my rose colored glasses have it, but it sure seems like
> > it was fun. I'd like to have met Joe Ossanna - care to share any stories
> > about what sort of person, programmer, etc he was?
> > That's perhaps a whole different thread, I'd love to shove a beer into
> > each and every bell labs guy hanging around here and get them talking.
> > Bell Labs was a huge influence on me, be good to have
> > Bell-labs-stories.com
> > or something filled with your memories.
> > --
> > ---
> > Larry McVoy lm at bitmover.com
> > http://www.bitkeeper.com
> > _______________________________________________
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