[Beowulf] Re: Religious wars

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Mon Jul 21 21:49:22 PDT 2008

Bob Drzyzgula <bob at drzyzgula.org> writes:
> This, I find, is a strong dividing line. By and large
> (not with exclusivity, but IME there is certainly a trend)
> systems programmers use vi and applications programmers
> use emacs.

I've seen more than my share of Unix hackers over the years, and I
spot no such trends. Generally, it seems to be a question of what you
learned first.

> See, I cut my teeth [1] on a Sun 2/120 with a multibus SCSI
> adapter, with a 71MB hard drive and a QIC tape drive. This
> was running SunOS 1.1 (cf. BSD 4.1),

Vax 11/750 for me. Before that I hacked on Tops-20, where the editor
of choice was the original emacs written in teco, thus my brain has
been wired for Emacs for a quarter century or so. (The stuff I used
before that was all line editor oriented and didn't stick in my

> and I can assure you that it didn't have no stinkin' Emacs;

It most certainly did, you simply didn't install it. :)

> Bill Joy ran the OS development for Sun and anyway, James Gosling's
> Unix/C port of Emacs was just starting to make the rounds [2].

By the time of SunOS 1.1, I believe there was Unipress emacs
around, as you note. In any case, the Suns I used of that vintage had
Emacs available. (I have a genuine Sun 1 sitting in my mom's garage
still -- double digit serial number.)

> [2] We did at one point buy some licenses for Unipress
> Emacs (the commercialized version of Gosling Emacs), but
> only a few hardy souls ever forced themselves to make use
> of it.

Where I was, the '20 heads kind of insisted on Emacsen. Unfortunately,
gosmacs didn't have a real extension language, so Gnu Emacs (which
arrived quite shortly) was considered a big plus...

Perry E. Metzger		perry at piermont.com

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