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Re: editor and word processor history (was: Re: RTF for emacs)

From: Emanuel Berg
Subject: Re: editor and word processor history (was: Re: RTF for emacs)
Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 04:20:25 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Robert Thorpe <> writes:

> Programs were typed in using keypunches which wrote
> to punched cards or using devices that wrote to paper
> tape.  The program was then submitted as a stack of
> cards or a tape to the sysadmins who ran the
> computer.  The computer would then "SPOOL" copying
> the paper information to magnetic tape where it could
> be accessed later.  Once that happened the user could
> do various things like edit the code, compile it and
> so on.
> This meant there was a delay between the user's
> information being sent and the program execution.
> Often in that time errors could be found.  In that
> case the user could run an editor from a teletype and
> fix the errors.  Doing that wouldn't necessarily
> require the teletype to print out each line of code
> being changed.  That's why in early editors there
> were commands to print out lines of code, but things
> could be done without them.
> This was all high technology compared to the early
> days when everything submitted on cards was compiled
> and executed without question.  In those early days
> there were no editors.  Everything depended on
> punched cards and there were special machines to deal
> with them which were a partial substitute.  (Even in
> the 1970s most small IBM computers were only sold
> with peripheral for reading and punching cards.)

I suppose this would be a lot easier to understand if
you could actually see (and touch) the machines. I have
heard that in the US (Boston and San Francisco) there
are computer museum, sometimes associated with the
companies themselves.

Perhaps I can steal some LEGO and build small models...

But as for the delay between coding and execution, that
sounds really relaxing - that way, you'd never be
tempted to do shortcuts or do trial-and-error until it

Of course you can program that way today as well but
sometimes time and the volume of work just make you
type and hit RET until it works, and that's always less
satisfactory then when you understand everything 100%.

underground experts united:

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