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

Jacob Ritorto jacob.ritorto at gmail.com
Mon Dec 1 09:03:34 CST 2014

  OK, to clear up my goals here: I just got my Diablo 630 running and would
like to couple it to one of my pdp11s and an appropriate terminal to do
more "inspired" writing and correspondence.  I don't mean to complain, but
I sometimes get bored typing on these relatively snazzy computers we have
these days and wish to go back to the way things were.

  So if there's some reasonable software that'll keep out of my way enough
to allow the creative juices to flow and that'll run natively on my 11/34
or my (currently broken) 11/73, that'd be fabulous.

  If I cant have all that, I'd at least like to get the printer working
with my 11/73 accepting lpd jobs so I can send stuff to it over the network
and enjoy the thing doing real world work in a contemporarily-configured
fashion.  Failing that, I suppose I could drive it with my Raspberry Pi.
But then most of the vintage voyeurism is lost.

  I know that "Jonathan's Own Version of Emacs" is on some of the 2.x
distributions, and if there's some creative writing / composition mode I
could get it into, that'd probably suffice, but I wanted to also try and be
open-minded; to be less unix-centric and accept that there might be other
word processing software out there on other pdp11 operating systems I could

  I guess the bottom line is that I have all this neat old stuff and I want
to actually use it; not just sit on it.

thx for the input!

On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 9:44 AM, Ian S. King <isking at uw.edu> wrote:

> I didn't know there was an Emacs for PDP-11, and I've looked.  Good news!
> And running on v6?  Even better.  Yet another reason for me to fix that
> RK05 on my 11/34 and get it running again.
> On Dec 1, 2014 4:53 AM, "Noel Chiappa" <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu> wrote:
> >     >> 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
> > elsewhere.
> >
> > 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).
> >
> >         Noel
> >

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