Quote of the day—Patrick J. LoPresti

When I log into my Xenix system with my 110 baud teletype, both vi *and* Emacs are just too damn slow.  They print useless messages like, ‘C-h for help’ and ‘”foo” File is read only’.  So I use the editor that doesn’t waste my VALUABLE time.

Ed, man!  !man ed

ED(1)               UNIX Programmer’s Manual                ED(1)

ed – text editor

ed [ – ] [ -x ] [ name ]
Ed is the standard text editor.

Computer Scientists love ed, not just because it comes first alphabetically, but because it’s the standard.  Everyone else loves ed because it’s ED!

“Ed is the standard text editor.”

And ed doesn’t waste space on my Timex Sinclair.  Just look:

-rwxr-xr-x  1 root          24 Oct 29  1929 /bin/ed
-rwxr-xr-t  4 root     1310720 Jan  1  1970 /usr/ucb/vi
-rwxr-xr-x  1 root  5.89824e37 Oct 22  1990 /usr/bin/emacs

Of course, on the system *I* administrate, vi is symlinked to ed. Emacs has been replaced by a shell script which 1) Generates a syslog message at level LOG_EMERG; 2) reduces the user’s disk quota by 100K; and 3) RUNS ED!!!!!!

“Ed is the standard text editor.”

Let’s look at a typical novice’s session with the mighty ed:

golem> ed

eat flaming death

Note the consistent user interface and error reportage.  Ed is
generous enough to flag errors, yet prudent enough not to overwhelm
the novice with verbosity.

Patrick J. LoPresti
July 11, 1991
The True Path in alt.religion.emacs
[There is more but this should give you enough of a hint to get you to read the whole thing—assuming you GET OFF OF MY LAWN!

This remarkable piece of enlightenment is just as valid today as it was when it was originally posted 22 years ago today.

And as I was telling Ry the other day, not only would I rather not be running Windows 8, I still harbor some resentment DOS was replaced with Windows 95.—Joe]


16 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Patrick J. LoPresti

  1. I’m not an IT guy. I’m a lawyer and before that a financial analyst.
    Way back just before Windows 3.0 was introduced, and Lotus was the big deal, I had to crunch some numbers numbers for the Air Force Procurement Office.
    Every month, a new report.
    I devised a program IN DOS that changed the filename CurrMont to the next month in line automatically.
    I was not happy when we got Window 3.0 and I found I could not make this happen without going outside Windows, clunking around and going back in. I felt like it was the computer equivalent of having to enter and exit your house via a ladder and a second story bathroom window.
    So I sympathize.

  2. I ran DOS 3.11 Workgroups for almost 3 years. The DOS Commands were intuitive, the system ran well on my 8086 wth math-coprocessor. I even had a business suite on it called Compass. Hell, I was considered a geek to just HAVE a computer back then…

    • And I thought I knew what the Holy Wars were about, when it came to editors.

      I’ll huddle over here with my copy of Emacs.

  3. There was a lot of functionality in Dos that I miss – particularly in manipulating file names en masse, etc.

  4. I suppose you’re all talking about incantations or spells of some kind, for communing with the dark forces controlling the magic boxes I keep around for very little besides communication, but since I know practically nothing of witchcraft or wizardry I can make no sense of any of this and will leave you all to your chants and dancing around the bonfire in the middle of the night with naught but loin cloths, goat leggings, bear claw necklaces and rattles, doing lord only knows what to innocent virgins. Just keep the iPads coming and oh; I’d like a little more storage capacity please, and an on-site storage drive that sort of mimics the cloud, so I don’t have to wait for downloads every time I want to watch a movie during peak traffic times. Chop chop.

    • Okay, I am getting SOOO EFFIN’ TIRED of crap like this. Let me set it straight once and for all, for those who are ignorant. The goat-leggings are OPTIONAL. Pure and simple. There it is, the unvarnished truth. So go ahead and forward all your “Bill Gates will eat a kitten if I don’t forward this” chain-mail spams, but don’t EVER let me catching you assuming that the leggings are required! Noob.


      (oh, and the virgins were neither innocent, nor…er….virginal, and if you don’t know what we do with them, well….there’s some mov…er…”instructional videos” I’d like to introduce you to)

      • In the Air Force I was in aviation maintenance. We referred to those particular training aids as “Hydraulic Training Films”.

  5. I miss DOS, but not as much as I miss CP/M and the suite of software that came with the Kaypro II. Still never used a better text editor, specially for the kind of writing I do.

  6. A few days ago I pulled my beloved 486DX tower (a blazing 33MHz) out of storage to run an ancient ham radio program in DOS. I used edit to modify a file and qbasic to play gorilla.bas. It was fun and no BSOD. Crap, I’m old…

  7. You take the time to learn; vi, how to write macros, create templates and you can bang out anything they want in minutes. Then some jerk decides that a graphical interface will make everyone so much more productive. Not so much.

  8. Bah. Everyone knows that TECO is the king of editors.

    Real Programmers Don’t Use Pascal: No, the Real Programmer wants a “you asked for it, you got it” text editor– complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous. TECO, to be precise.

    Every once in a while, I consider seeing whether TECO is availble for Linux. No doubt, some incredibly deranged person has ported it. I really ought to learn it.

    My 1st exposure to EMACS was on a Prime machine back in the late 80’s, and I still don’t like it. If I wanted to do chording on a keyboard, I’d buy a piano.

    Long live EDT!

  9. I’m pretty sure TECO is available for Linux. If nothing else, you could use the one I wrote in Python.

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