[TUHS] Unix emacs at Bell Labs and elsewhere

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

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


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

More information about the TUHS mailing list