[TUHS] UK written UNIX line editor in early 80s?

Alec Muffett alec.muffett at gmail.com
Fri Apr 14 07:31:05 AEST 2017

On 13 April 2017 at 21:35, Adam Sampson <ats at offog.org> wrote:

> Steve Mynott <steve.mynott at gmail.com> writes:
> > In the autumn of 1984 as an undergrad at Durham University [...] a
> > strange line editor [...] it seemed to resemble ex.  I think I was
> > told it was written in the UK [...]
> ECCE, maybe? This originated at Edinburgh in the late 60s and was ported
> to all sorts of languages and platforms. See the DCS archive for many
> versions (including several Unix ports with mid-80s dates) and manuals:

I vaguely remember hearing of ecce, I think; however many British
universities in the 1980s that I knew (largely from the student-hacker
community) ran the children of an editor called GEORGE descended from an
old ICL operating system:

- http://www.icl1900.co.uk/g3/editor.html (user doc)
- http://sw.ccs.bcs.org/CCs/g3/LeedsDoc/sect-e.htm (manual)
- http://sw.ccs.bcs.org/CCs/g3/ (source)

The variant at UCL was called "gedit" and hosted on OS/4000 (

The variant at Aberystwyth was called "ge" and hosted on GECOS-3 and
various Unixen

There were many others; having infected (?) the UK community in the 1970s
(?) it became a favourite.


ps: as a friend likes to point out, OS/4000, as a B2-secure (ha)
military-grade operating system, had some fabulous syntax. The equivalent
to Unix's "rm -rf ~" would be:


...which basically implemented a recursive "mv" to /dev/null, directories

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