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

Richard Loken richardlo at
Tue Dec 2 11:08:41 CST 2014

On Tue, 2 Dec 2014, Jacob Ritorto wrote:

>   I was seeking the "best" pdp11 prose text editing experience for typing
> in manuscripts, composing, letter writing, etc. (not programming language -
> that was just a side effect of some editors actually being programming
> languages in and of themselves).
> reviewed them yet, is some kind of emacs, most likely Jove since it's
> already there in 2.xBSD and keeps me from having to mess with/re-learn

This is what we did on a pdp11 with Unix version 6 so at least this much
could be done with 2.xBSD...

In my youth we did typesetting on a pdp11/34 under Unix V6.  We hired young
ladies out of high school and taught them to write "troff" code using the
"ed" line editor.  The output of troff was sent to the ubiquitous CaT
typesetter but the early proofing was done by sending nroff output to a
line printer.

The pdp11/34 could cope with maybe four to six people editing files at the
same time but if somebody were going to ask troff to format a document then
she called out to the other editors because one troff process is all that
could be coped with.

I still write everything in troff but I use big fat gnu emacs rather than
ed which I have largely forgotten how to use.  I have meant to port the
pre-gnu troff/nroff to VMS for decades and never now and never got around
to it.

   Richard Loken VE6BSV, Unix System Administrator : "Anybody can be a father
   Athabasca University                            :  but you have to earn
   Athabasca, Alberta Canada                       :  the title of 'daddy'"
   ** richardlo at **             :  - Lynn Johnston

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