From mrc@Tomobiki-Cho.CAC.Washington.EDU Fri Jan 19 23:29:23 1990 From: mrc@Tomobiki-Cho.CAC.Washington.EDU (Mark Crispin) Newsgroups: alt.folklore.computers Subject: Re: Emacs Date: 19 Jan 90 22:56:26 GMT Organization: Mendou Zaibatsu, Tomobiki-Cho, Butsumetsu-Shi In article email@example.com (nancy nott) writes: >In the same vein as all of the posts about TECO, VAX, and PDP.... >What does Emacs mean? Editing MACroS. Work on EMACS started in the summer of 1976. The people who worked on it primarily at that time were Guy Steele, Richard Stallman, and Dave Moon. EMACS was written in TECO, but not the TECO that most people know. Most people know a very stripped-down and bastardized TECO which Bob Clements adapted for the DEC operating system for the PDP-6. The original TECO was written by Dan Murphy for the PDP-1, and later reimplemented on the PDP-6 (by, if I remember correctly, Richard Greenblatt, Jack Holloway, and Tom Knight in a single weekend!). The original TECO used a display scope to display the text being edited around the editing point. It remained a source of wonder and astonishment to the original authors of TECO that anyone ever used it without a display screen. This TECO ran on MIT's operating system for the PDP-6 and PDP-10, ITS (Incompatible TimeSharing). At Stanford, a different track of display editors had developed, again starting with the display scope on the PDP-1. The two surviving today are TVEDIT for Tenex/TOPS-20 and E for WAITS. Richard Stallman visited the Stanford AI Lab and was impressed by E's real-time editing facility. When he returned to MIT, he implemented so-called "^R mode" (a real time editing mode in TECO invoked by the CTRL/R command) in TECO. Although ^R mode made a whole new style of editing possible (unlike E and TVEDIT, the default action for newly typed in text was insert rather than replace), it was still rather primitive. The search was for a single character only, and you would still have to go back to TECO to do lots of things (such as read or write files!). Two major sets of TECO macro packages (a "macro" is a program, written in TECO, stored in a TECO register) developed; TECMAC and TMACS. TECMAC was a more real-time editor, while TMACS had a much richer set of functionality including named commands. Just about everybody had their own customizations on top of these packages. This was the situation when I worked at MIT in the summer of '76. I had brought with me my own favorite TECO-style editor, which, although it had only the functionality of primitive DEC TECO, had two interesting facilities: (1) it compiled all TECO programs (including commands) prior to execution, and (2) it had multi-character register names, which greatly increased the number of possible TECO registers to virtually infinite. Richard Stallman implemented the latter in TECO as part of the EMACS project, which was originally intended as a replacement for both TECMAC and TMACS. By New Years in 1977 EMACS had made significant inroads against TECMAC/TMACS; and in another year or so the older editors had both succumbed to software rot. Michael McMahon was irritated at the editor situation for Tenex and TOPS-20; the alternatives at that time ranged from TVEDIT to QED to TV (a DEC TOPS-20 TECO-like program with display terminal functionality much like that of the 1964 MIT TECO). He undertook the long and laborious task of porting MIT EMACS from ITS to Tenex and TOPS-20, and by 1978 EMACS was running on a small set of Tenex and TOPS-20 systems at MIT, Stanford, and SRI. Richard Stallman did heroic efforts to propagate the mass (and free) distribution to just about every TOPS-20 system in the work. This guaranteed EMACS a place in the sun. Without McMahon and Stallman's efforts we'd probably all be using vi or worse today. In the 1980's, TOPS-20 had reached its zenith. Because of horribly high maintenance costs (DEC was trying to shut down the product line in favor of VAX/VMS, and finally did in 1983), many sites were migrating from TOPS-20. Not trusting DEC, many sites picked UNIX as their migration path instead of VMS. There were a few critical TOPS-20 tools which "must" be ported before the migration; and one of those was EMACS. The rest is well-known... _____ ____ ---+--- /-\ Mark Crispin Atheist & Proud _|_|_ _|_ || ___|__ / / 6158 Lariat Loop NE R90/6 pilot |_|_|_| /|\-++- |=====| / / Bainbridge Island, WA "Gaijin! Gaijin!" --|-- | |||| |_____| / \ USA 98110-2098 "Gaijin ha doko ka?" /|\ | |/\| _______ / \ +1 (206) 842-2385 "Niichan ha gaijin." / | \ | |__| / \ / \ mrc@CAC.Washington.EDU "Chigau. Gaijin ja nai. kisha no kisha ga kisha de kisha-shita Omae ha gaijin darou." sumomo mo momo, momo mo momo, momo ni mo iroiro aru "Iie, boku ha nihonjin." uraniwa ni wa niwa, niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru "Souka. Yappari gaijin!"