Fwd: is there any word processing software for the pdp11?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon Dec 1 06:52:35 CST 2014

    >> Jacob Ritorto wrote:

    >> Yeah, but troff is too hard.

I'm going to pass over the obvious question ('why would anybody be doing word
processing on a PDP-11 in this day and age' :-), and ask if nroff is also too
hard? Since it's only intended for character devices (line printers, etc)
it's not quite as complex as troff.a

I'm not sure if Bell had anything simpler; I'll have to look at my V6 Unix
manual set.

    > From: Ian S. King

    > But ... Emacs (originally EMACS, "eight megabytes and continuously
    > swapping") .. is ever going to run on a PDP-11. 

If you restrict yourself to GNU Emacs, yes. But there are more implementations
of EMACS in the world than that bloated monstrosity!

We ran an EMACS on V6 Unix at MIT, I forget who wrote it, I think it was
someone at BBN; it was quite a nice one. It was quite customizable (but that
have only been key bindings and settings, not sure if it included code), and
it had all the usual features: multiple buffers and windows, etc. (In fact,
it was so painful to use on a VT52, with its small screen, that I migrated to
a Ann Arbor Ambassador terminal, with its much large screen, as soon as it
became available.)

I have several sets of backup tapes from one of the V6 machines at MIT; I
sent one off to Chuck Guzis, and he's gotten almost all the bits off of it (a
few records had unrecoverable read errors, but the vast majority were OK -
like roughly 15 read errors in around 1500 records).

I hope to annouce a vast trove of stuff soon from my tapes (once I figure out
how to interpret the bits - they are written by a sui generis application
called 'saveRVD', and the _only_ documentation of how it did it is... on that
tape! :-) That includes a lot of code written at MIT, as well as stuff from

Coming soon, in addition to that EMACS, should be BCPL, Algol, LISP and some
other languages; MACRO-11 and the DEC linker (which I guess are also
available from UNSW tapes), but _also_ programs to convert back and forth
from .REL to a.out format, and to .LDA format; and a whole ton of other
applications (I have no idea what all is there - if anyone is interested, I
can make a pass through my manuals and try and make a list).


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