[TUHS] What was your "Aha, Unix!" moment?

Theodore Y. Ts'o tytso at mit.edu
Sun Oct 13 00:37:33 AEST 2019

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 08:01:55PM -0700, Larry McVoy wrote:
> If you were on some 300 baud dial up modem, ed made tons of sense.  You
> had a mental picture of the file in your head, you didn't need to see
> all of it in real time, that was wasteful.  ed let you see as much as
> you needed and as little as was productive.  And it worked without 
> termcap.  ed rocks, it's yet another little program that does what
> it needs to do and no more.
> ed was like a lot of stuff that Bell Labs did that dated back to the
> days when getting a print out took a day or so....

ed isn't all that different from most of the text based editors from
that era.  My first text based editor was "edit" from the PDP-8's 4k
disk monitor system.  The "monitor" was located in the high 128
(12-bit) word page of the PDP-8's 4k core memory, and the editor and
its text buffer had to fit in the bottom 3968 words, which meant you
had to read and edit your program file in small chunks[1].

[1] https://www.pdp8.net/asr33/dms_session.shtml

The 4k disk monitor pre-dated Unix by two years, and similar text
editors were part of the PDP-15 and PDP-11 operating systems from
Digital.  Many of the edito commands that I remember from using ASR-35
connected to my Dad's PDP-8/i are the same as what /bin/ed.
Fortunately people weren't trying to copyright user interfaces back in
the 1960's.....

					- Ted

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