[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Mon Sep 16 23:42:56 AEST 2019

On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 8:26 AM Lars Brinkhoff <lars at nocrew.org> wrote:

> However, please note that more(1) also was inspired by, almost copied
> from, ITS.  Certainly the prompt --More-- is.

Absolutely.  A friend of mine/fellow UCB grad student, Eric Shienbrood,
wrote it.  He was a MIT undergrad. And Eric happily said it was modeled
from ITS.
And before, Eric wrote it, UNIX lacked anything like it.   Which to me is
fine, t*aking an idea from another system to add a new feature that is

What irks me is the blatant force-feeding of any system to the users, be it
ITS, UNIX or Windows into another.   It's ok to offer an alternative
interface, but when the system has a mechanism, your tools need to be *socially
compliant* with it, not try to make 'those users become like me.'
 Frankly, that is a pretty arrogant behavior. Yes, I know the argument is
two fold.  GNU is not UNIX and we wrote it (he who has the gold, gets to

BTW:  If it makes you feel better, I've been fighting this attitude at a
number of places, particularly Intel, for years.   For instance, our dev
tools folks wrote their own Installer 'because it was easier for them and
they could use it everywhere').   That's a no-no.  If you have Windows
product, you must use Microsoft's installer, if you have a Mac, you use
what Apple gives you, if you have VMS, you used the (wretched) setld, or in
this case, for Linux its rpm/yum et al.; etc.     But they had their own
'installer group' and it was easier for >>them<< than for the users.

I think the rule of 'least astonishment' is what needs to be the high order
bit when building tools for people.   Again, offering emacs (or any other
ITS tool) is fine, but when the new tool is installed on Windows/UNIX/Mac
et.. it needs to behave itself with the rest of the system, particularly if
there is already a mechanism in place to do a support function.

Simply, I would not mind info(gnu) and texinfo(gnu) if there was a way to
created man pages (or Windows / Mac help).  But having a man page that
basically says, see figure one
<https://www.dourish.com/goodies/see-figure-1.html> is not cool.

my 2 cents from a grumpy old guy....
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