[TUHS] tangential unix question: whatever happened to NeWS?

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Wed Jan 27 13:54:08 AEST 2021

Dave Horsfall writes:
> Ugh!  I've seen some ugly windowing systems in my time, but X...  Heck, 
> even CP/M had a better system, IIRC.  Talk about heavyweight; how many 
> lines of code were required to write "Hello, world"?

Well, as I've said before, I think that it's our job as geezers in the
field to help younger folks learn to design and build things in a better
way.  Hard to figure out how to do this effectively given the huge push
to turn out lots of low-quality coders so that they don't have to be paid
much above minimum wage.

Found a listing on actual prehistoric line printer paper that seems to
indicate that my copy of the NeWS source, if readable, dates back to 1985.
Don't know what the provenance of this code is; it's not something that I
had around from doing some work on X/NeWS so I'm not sure why I have it.

One of the things that I'll hopefully find during basement archeology is
a paper by Gosling about a tool that we wrote to go along with NeWS.  Don't
remember what it was called, but it was a preprocessor that allowed one to
specify things about the (graphics) hardware, and would, for example,
automatically unroll certain loops where there would be a benefit.  This
allowed different hardware to be driven efficently from a single hunk of
source code without #ifdefs all over the place.

Also, I do have a couple of notebooks of stuff from V and W that I can scan
in if it's not available elsewhere.  Oh, wow, and an original IRIS-4D paper
from Silicon Graphics, and the programming manual for Imagen laser printers.


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