[TUHS] Systematic approach to command-line interfaces

Dan Cross crossd at gmail.com
Sun Aug 1 02:30:33 AEST 2021

On Sat, Jul 31, 2021 at 12:18 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:

> Sorry, hit return too soon.   I remember an old AAUGN newsletter
> describing it.   If I recall it was original done for kermit.  The same
> idea is in tcsh also.  Which came first, I don't remember.  Cut/pasted from
> AAUGN Vol8 # 2

Frank da Cruz wrote a very nice reminiscence of the DECSYSTEM-20s at
Columbia that discusses the creation of CCMD as they decommissioned the
PDP-10s and switched to Unix on VAXen (and then Suns).

When I was a student, we were still given accounts on the CUNIX cluster;
64-bit SPARC machines running Solaris at the time. At the time, the actress
Julia Styles was a student. One day, I was walking out of Mudd (the
engineering building) with a friend of mine who suddenly grabbed my arm and
said, "oh my god oh my god oh my god that's Julia Styles!" Being
perpetually ignorant of popular culture, I had no idea who she was
referring to confusedly thought she meant Julia Child, the late host of a
cooking show. "...But I thought she was dead?" "No, Dan, that's Julia
Child!" We decided to look up Ms Styles in the student directory, but being
a celebrity she wasn't listed. However, one could still discover her "UNI"
(login name) by grepping for her in the NIS password database. We did that
and sent her an email: "Christy was too embarrassed to say hi to you and
Dan thought you were Julia Child." Predictably, she did not respond. In
retrospect, I idly wonder how many such emails she got, most presumably of
the creepy variety, but we just thought ours was funny.

It appears that CUNIX still exists: https://cuit.columbia.edu/unix

        - Dan C.

> CCMD: A Version of COMND in C
> *Andrew Lowry*
> *Howard Kaye *
> Columbia University
> CCMD is a general parsing mechanism for developing User Interfaces to
> programs. It is based on the functionality of TOP5.20's COMND Jsys. CCMD
> allows a program to parse for various field types (file names, user names,
> dates and times, keywords, numbers, arbitrary text, tokens, *etc*.). It
> is meant to supply a homogeneous user interface across a variety of
> machines and operating systems for C programs. It currently runs under
> System V UNIX, 4.2/4.3 BSD, Ultrix 1.2/2.0, and MSDOS. The library defines
> various default actions (user settable), and allows field completion, help,
> file indirection, comments, *etc*. on a per field basis. Future plans
> include command line editing, command history, and ports to other operating
> systems (such as VMS).
> CCMD is available for anonymous FTP from
> For further information, send mail to:
> info-ccmd-request at cu20b.columbia.edu
> seismo!columbia!cunixc!info-ccmd-request
> On Sat, Jul 31, 2021 at 12:03 PM Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
>> https://github.com/PDP-10/sri-nic/blob/master/files/fs/c/ccmd/ccmdmd.unx
>> On Sat, Jul 31, 2021 at 11:46 AM Richard Salz <rich.salz at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Look for "comnd jsys" that exact spelling. Source code is around.
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