bigger pdp11 terminals! (was: is there any word processing software for the pdp11?)

Jacob Ritorto jacob.ritorto at
Tue Dec 2 08:06:43 CST 2014

I want to do something like this to 2.11bsd's window(1) utility; possibly
vi(1) too..  Window(1) dies with "Out of memory" if you increase the
terminal geometry even a little bit.  Anyone know how to go about
embiggening this program?  Would be great to connect a nice, big 132x66
xterm to 2.11bsd and split it all up!

On Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 9:51 PM, Jerome H. Fine <jhfinedp3k at>

> >Noel Chiappa wrote:
>  [Snip]
>>    > There was also a TECO version available for the PDP-11's running
>>    > (and likely others)
>> There was a 'visual TECO' running on the V6 Unix at MIT; that's what we
>> used
>> before the EMACS came along. I don't know the background of it, if it
>> shares
>> any history with the one you mentioned.
>>  From the (slim) manual I have for it, it seems to have had both TECO mode
>> (the usual TECO command interface, the stuff that looks like line noise),
>> and
>> a visual mode, just like primitive EMACS. (Probably only supported VT52's,
>> though.) The latter mode had some built-in command keys, and there were
>> also
>> macro packages to extend it (again, just like primitive EMACS, although
>> those
>> for the PDP-11 Unix TECO were not as sophisticated).
>> That's all almost certainly on the tape too, if anyone cares! :-)
>>  Since the "Subject" specified "word processing software", I assumed that
> would exclude TECO which I regard as a "text editor" (although Johnny
> strongly disagrees since his concept is a "line editor" - if I remember
> correctly).
> In any case, since TECO has been mentioned, I believe that KED (a
> screen editor - KEYBOARD  EDITOR) which was produced by DEC
> for the VT100 and other similar VDTs qualifies.  KED has been distributed
> with all versions of RT-11 at least since V04.00 in 1980.
> KED runs under both RT-11 and RSTS/E and will at least qualify as much
> as TECO.  The DEC variants are limited to 24 lines by 80 columns along
> with 24 lines by 132 columns if a VT100 is being used with the AVO
> hardware.  MACROs are supported, so some extensive editing can be
> accomplished.  Auxiliary input and output files are also supported.  But,
> note that KED is a screen editor without the sort of things that a word
> processor is likely to have.  What you see is what you get.
> Ersatz-11, the PDP-11 emulator by John Wilson of Dbit, now supports
> screens up to 255 lines by 255 columns, although in practice, no Windows
> system can properly support those values.  On my Windows XP system,
> the video card and monitor support up to about 50 lines by 200 columns.
> As a enhancement to KED, I added code which runs under RT-11 and
> RSTS/E which also supports up to 255 lines by 255 columns - BUT not
> at the same time since the screen buffer MUST be large enough to hold
> all of the characters on the screen.  Since the actual maximum useful
> screen
> sizes are about 50 lines by 120 columns and 50 lines by 198 columns (for
> a maximum screen buffer of 9900 characters), I use KED under RT-11
> running under Ersatz-11.  With my current video card and monitor, I have
> chosen to use FULL  SCREEN mode which is supported at 50 lines by
> 80 columns and 44 lines by 132 columns.  The extra 20 lines available when
> I inspect a MACRO-11 output listing are extremely helpful.
> Jerome Fine

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