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Re: editor and word processor history

From: Pascal J. Bourguignon
Subject: Re: editor and word processor history
Date: Fri, 30 May 2014 06:06:09 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.3 (gnu/linux)

Emanuel Berg <> writes:

> 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.

You can always use simulators:

Otherwise, it wouldn't be too hard to configure emacs to reproduce the
feel and constraints of software development in the 60s or 70s.

M-x caps-mode RET
M-x computer-paper RET  

__Pascal Bourguignon__
"Le mercure monte ?  C'est le moment d'acheter !"

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