[TUHS] Software Archeology: QED

Norman Wilson norman at oclsc.org
Thu Oct 11 05:21:27 AEST 2018

Leah Neukirchen:

  I tried contacting David Tilbrook several times and got no replies.

  I think some people around Toronto still use qed, but they seem to be
  very secretive about it.


David is likely well-retired by now, but I don't really know.
Even though I walk within a block of his house fairly often,
we've never really been consistently in touch.

But he was responsible for a distinct branch of the qed that
originated at the University of Toronto in the late 1970s
(same one Rob supplied).  Certainly worth tracking down.

I don't know your definitions of `people around Toronto' or
`secretive.'  I still use qed daily; my copy is one I've been
carrying around, and occasionally tweaking, since my time at
Caltech (where I got it from Rob).  I'll send Arnold a copy.
I'm really tired both of having to recompile it (and deal with
yet another bit of obsolete-C assumption that no previous
compiler or C library has shown up) now and then, and with
its private variant of regular expressions, so I keep threatening
(mainly to myself) to rewrite it in Python, but I have no idea
whether I'll ever get around to that.  If I do I suspect I'll
throw away some of the programmability hooks, which I never use,
and perhaps extend it here and there (I really want nesting
globals, and they're not that hard to do--I did them in my
half-baked personal mail reader, which has an ed-like interface).

I don't know offhand of anyone else around Toronto using my
branch of qed.  I do know of a couple of friends in California,
one who left Caltech before I did but is now back there, another
elsewhere in Los Angeles, who still use my version at least
occasionally.  It wouldn't surprise me if there were people
around Toronto who use Tilbrook's branch, since it was part
of his qef toolkit and he introduced several companies to it
when consulting for them; but I don't know of any specifics.

None of which is as archaeologically interesting as the
non-UNIX qeds, of course.

Norman Wilson
Toronto ON

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