[multicians] Emacs humor

jwsmobile jws at jwsss.com
Tue Dec 1 19:31:56 CST 2015

This is a funny cartoon and subsequent discussion thread from the 
Multics discussion group about emacs.

Names and personal info edited out due to archival by unknown parties of 
the list and that these folks might not want names and certainly not 
email addresses archived.  Mentioning that not as a criticism, just to 
explain the format.  I also edited the thread back to bottom posting.

Original XKCD cartoon link.


 >> From: Multicians <snip>
 >> Subject: Re: [multicians] Emacs humor
 >>> Thanks, Gary.  As an emacs diehart, I fully appreciate that.  In 
fact, there is a silly phrase that many emacs users use, when referring 
to all the obscure key bindings that you get by default with emacs, or 
can create.  It.s called:
 >>> Control-Meta-Shift-Cokebottle
 >>> I believe the history (someone can correct me if I.m wrong) is that 
Emacs was developed at the MIT AI Lab (by Richard Stallman) and 
initially written in Teco. It was developed on Lisp machines, which 
sported lots of modification keys on its keyboard. These included 
Control, Shift, Hyper, Meta, Super (and perhaps more). Naturally, emacs 
took advantage of some of these . at least those that were available on 
multiple terminals or could be emulated on lesser terminals. I remember 
when I worked at MIT LCS (down the hall from MIT AI), we had a key 
binding on our Lisp Machines that called the elevator to the 8th floor.  
I don.t remember the key binding, but I.m sure it used a few of these 
modification keys (and probably .e. for .elevator. as the modified key). 
In any case, the class of these funky key bindings was referred to as 
 >>> I.m sure I.ve gotten some of the facts wrong, but I.m also sure 
that at least someone on this list will correct me!
 >>> . Eric

 >> On Dec 1, 2015, at 11:30 AM, Ken  <snip>> wrote:
 >> I seem to recall that one of the Lisp machine keyboard modifiers was 
"Top", and that the phrase was therefore
 >>> Control-Shift-Meta-Top-Cokebottle
 >> Where, of course, you were typing the "Cokebottle" key with the 
Control, Shift, Meta, and Top modifier keys depressed.
 >> I think the elevator hack involved the AI Lab PDP-6 (or maybe, 
later, PDP-10), but I wouldn't be surprised if it migrated to the Lisp 
machines, too  The old -6, especially, had added hardware to enable it 
to control the various robot devices the AI lab played with.  Some AI 
Lab hardware guys gained access to the machinery room on the 10th floor 
and added some extra relay circuitry to one of the elevator controllers, 
and it wasn't much of a stretch to run the control wires down to the 9th 
floor machine room. IIRC it took a few years for whatever company was 
responsible for maintaining the elevators to discover the unauthorized 
modification and remove it.
 >> How long it stayed removed is an entirely different question, of course.
 >> Ken
 >>   MIT-LCS '72-'80
 >>   Multics ARPANET software

On 12/1/2015 11:42 AM, Eric  <snip> [multicians] wrote:
 > I just knew I had that facts wrong! Yes, you.re right. I remember the 
Top key now.
 > I do know that the elevator hack worked on Lisp machines, but I think 
you.re right that it also worked on some other interfaces.  I remember 
getting frustrated when I.d be .ready to leave. (at 2am, or so), and 
would call the elevator, and then I.d have to fix .one more bug., and by 
the time I got to the elevator, I actually had to push the boring old 
button to get the elevator doors to open!  :-)
 > . Eric

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