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

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: editor and word processor history (was: Re: RTF for emacs)
Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 21:31:18 -0600
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Allan Streib wrote:
> Emanuel Berg writes:
> > For the Unix world, I have read there was once an
> > editor called ed that didn't showed the file being
> > manipulated at all - the "state" of the file, as it was
> > called (unbelievable).

Once was and still is too.  The GNU ed is available.

> Teletypes and other brands of paper-based "terminals" were commonplace
> then. You didn't need (nor was it practical) for the editor to display
> the contents of the file, when it was already printed on the paper in
> front of you. So you used sed-like search/replace commands.

When I was at university I wrote thousands of lines of code using qed
(a precurser to ed on the old Honeywell GCOS system) and paper
terminals over acoustic coupled modems.  If nothing else it will teach
you how to use regular expressions at a very deep level!  Editors like
ed are actually very efficient if you know how to use them.

> Even the first CRTs were dumb (aka "glass teletypes") and didn't have
> addressable cursors. You cloud clear and redraw the screen maybe, which
> was painful at 110 or 300 baud.

Agreed.  Very painful.  From first hand experience.

Here is a funny modern day ed story.  Well it is funny to me anyway.
At one time I and another buddy George were helping someone with a
problem he was working on.  It came time to edit a file.  I told him
"Edit the file by your favorite method."  I usually avoid saying
"emacs the file" or "vi(m) the file".  Everyone prefers a different
editor.  Use whatever editor you normally use.

For whatever reason this person typed in "ed thefilename" and then
looked up at me.  I knew it was a typing mistake.  I should have said,
"Do you really mean to use ed on that file?"  But instead I looked at
George.  George looked at me.  We had both used ed a lot in the past.
Out of a sense of perversity we both said together, "Okay.  Let's do
it!"  And then we began to give him 'ed' editing instructions for the
file.  It was a short file so "1,$p" to see it all and then
"3s/foo/bar/p", "g/baz/s//foo/" and so forth to make the needed
changes.  Editing went pretty quick.  "wq" writes the file and quits.

Afterward this person asked George and myself why had we used ed?  I
said that we didn't have anything to do with that choice.  He was
driving the keyboard.  The choice of editor was his!  I am still
chuckling about it.  But I guess this is one of those where you had to
be there...

I still prefer emacs however.


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