The dsw man page

Eric Fischer enf at
Mon Aug 9 11:38:03 AEST 1999

> From: Warren Toomey <wkt at>
> Delete using switches, from memory. You toggled in an i-node number on
> the front panel, then ran dsw to delete that i-node. ...
> I will try to dig up a reference to the `switches' story. I have seen it
> somewhere.

This may not be the reference you're looking for, but it definitely
gets into the history of dsw.  Slightly reformatted from the Usenet
Oldnews archives at

|  Newsgroups: NET.general
|  From: utzoo!decvax!ucbvax!mhtsa!research!dmr
|  Date: Wed Aug 12 00:35:06 1981
|  Subject: etymology &c
|  I would advise taking uiucdcs!jerry's account of history and
|  motivations with a healthy dose of salt.  However, his heart's in
|  the right place (unlike some).
|  A while ago someone asked Ken Thompson what he would do differently
|  if he were to do Unix again.  The answer: "I would have called it
|  create instead of creat."   Well, my answer is that I would have
|  fixed the stupid dsw manual page.  Fortunately, I can atone
|  by publishing a correct account (not the real 1970 manual page,
|  but an incredible simulation).
|  Subject: dsw manual page (honest)
|  DSW(1)              UNIX Programmer's Manual               DSW(1)
|       dsw - delete from switches
|       (put number in console switches)
|       dsw
|       core
|       dsw reads the console switches to obtain a number n, prints
|       the name of the n-th file in the current directory, and
|       exits, leaving a core image file named core. If this core
|       file is executed, the file whose name was last printed is
|       unlinked (see unlink(2)).
|       The command is useful for deleting files whose names are
|       difficult to type.
|       rm(1), unlink(2)
|       This command was written in 2 minutes to delete a particular
|       file that managed to get an 0200 bit in its name.  It should
|       work by printing the name of each file in a specified direc-
|       tory and requesting a `y' or `n' answer.  Better, it should
|       be an option of rm(1).
|       The name is mnemonic, but likely to cause trouble in the
|       future.
|  Printed 8/11/81            PDP-7 local                          1
|  -------------------------------------------------------------------
|  This Usenet Oldnews Archive article may be copied and distributed
|  freely, provided:
|  1. There is no money collected for the text(s) of the articles.
|  2. The following notice remains appended to each copy:
|     The Usenet Oldnews Archive: Compilation Copyright (C) 1981, 1996 
|     Bruce Jones, Henry Spencer, David Wiseman.


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