[TUHS] V9 shell [was Re: Warner's Early Unix Presentation]

Rob Pike robpike at gmail.com
Tue Feb 11 19:59:24 AEST 2020

My general mood about the current standard way of nerd working is how
unimaginative and old-fashioned it feels. There are countless ways we could
be interacting with our terminals, editors, and shells while we program,
but for various sociological and historical reasons we're pretty much using
one from decades ago. I'm sure it's productive for almost everyone, but it
seems dull to me. We could be doing something much more dynamic. I mean,
xterm is hardly more sophisticated than the lame terminal code that ran in
mpx (ca. 1982), other than colors and cursor addressing, which date from
the 1960s via early PCs. IDEs don't sing to me, although they are powerful,
because they don't integrate well with the environment, only with the
language. And they are just lots of features, not a coherent vision. No
model to speak of.

Compare what happened with our shell windows with what happened with our
"smart" phones in the last 20 years and you'll get some inkling of what I
think we're missing. It's not that we should program the way we use
iPhones, but that there are fields where user interface work has made a
real different recently. Not so in programming, though. We're missing out.

But I'm a grumpy old man and getting far off topic. Warren should cry,

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