[multicians] Emacs humor
RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org
Tue Dec 1 20:13:06 CST 2015
From: Johnny Billquist
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2015 5:44 PM
Thanks for chiming in, Johnny! Keeps me from having to do it. :-)
> But, of course, Emacs was not developed on Lisp machines. TECO was a DEC
> edtior/language, and Emacs came about on PDP-10 machines. I think
> originally with ITS, but it could also be ran on TOPS-20.
Well, technically, the original TECO was developed on the PDP-1 at MIT,
taken up by DEC, and ported to most of their subsequent systems.
The version of TECO in which EMACS was developed was an MIT-AI Lab local
creation with no DEC input, for ITS; that version of TECO, and therefore
EMACS, was ported to TENEX and TOPS-20.
> About the cokebottle reference, here's the quote from JARGON.TXT:
> COKEBOTTLE n. Any very unusual character. MIT people complain about
> the "control-meta-cokebottle" commands at SAIL, and SAIL people
> complain about the "altmode-altmode-cokebottle" commands at MIT.
> So that really did not have anything to do with Emacs. But this is all
> ancient history by now, and I'm not surprised history has twisted some
> facts... :-)
The history of "bucky bits" goes back even further than most people know.
Before the PDP-6 came into existence, SAIL ran a computer-assisted lab
using a PDP-1 with specially modified terminals. These were designed by
a Swiss computer scientist later known for creating a paedogogical Algol
derivative, a gentleman whom the SAIL graduate students did not like and
called (referring to a malocclusion) "Bucky Beaver". The extra 2 bits
on the terminals became "bucky bits".
With the PDP-6 came a design for special terminals which included not 2
but 5 bucky bits (though 2 were unnamed on the Stanford keyboard), in a
14-bit character set where Control was the 200 bit, Meta was the 400
bit, and Top was the 4000 bit. Top referred to non-Latin characters on
the keys, above the usual typewriter characters we all know and love.
Internally, Top+character was translated to a value in the range 0-37,
which were graphical rather than ASCII control characters.
I used to use one of these terminals from time to time, to read mailing
lists hosted on SU-AI (AKA Sail.Stanford.EDU in a more modern era), and
to SUPDUP to my account on MIT-AI, where I could use EMACS with real
bucky bits just as $DEITY intended.
Up next here is to modify a terminal emulation program to provide SUPDUP
and the Stanford character set in order to talk to our WAITS system
on the net.
 The name of an animated spokescreature for Ipana toothpaste.
 Hey, if RMS can do that in the EMACS manual...
 The OS, descended from the PDP-6 monitor and thus related to Tops-10
which SAIL ran on the PDP-6, the PDP-10/PDP-6 dual processor, the
KL-10/PDP-10/PDP-6 triprocessor, and KL-10/PDP-10 dual processor and
the KL-10 uniprocessor between 1964 and 1990. Also ran on a Foonly
at CCRMA and a KL-10 at Lawrence Livermore Labs, but retired earlier.
Vintage Computing Sr. Systems Engineer
Living Computer Museum
2245 1st Avenue S
Seattle, WA 98134
mailto:RichA at LivingComputerMuseum.org
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