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

Rob Pike robpike at gmail.com
Wed Feb 12 04:54:57 AEST 2020

Acme was definitely inspired by Oberon the system. I visited ETH a number
of times in the '80s and there were some properties of Oberon I found
attractive. Acme definitely grew out of thinking I did there, but of course
it was not tied to any language (unlike Oberon or an IDE), but rather
integrated the Plan 9 command environment. Also, the button 3
context-getting thing was completely new, and when I spoke at ETH later
about Acme, Wirth singled out that feature as something of interest.

Sam predates all that.


On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 5:35 AM Christopher Browne <cbbrowne at gmail.com>

> On Tue, 11 Feb 2020 at 05:00, Rob Pike <robpike at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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,
>> "enough!".
> I recently saw indication that the UI for Sam and Acme were inspired by
> Oberon.  (And per url [1] below, Rob Pike is quoted, sort of...)
> I'd be interested (and I think that's a TUHS thing ;-) ) in hearing some
> elaboration on that.  All that is said is that "Rob was blown away" and
> that this "influenced" Sam/Acme; is there some further explanation of that
> worth pointing at?  (Or are some Oberon fans putting words in mouths?  ;-) )
> [1] https://lists.inf.ethz.ch/pipermail/oberon/2011/006245.html
> --
> When confronted by a difficult problem, solve it by reducing it to the
> question, "How would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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