[TUHS] Graphic Systems C/A/T phototypesetter

Larry McVoy lm at bitmover.com
Wed Dec 11 01:37:05 AEST 2013

On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 09:45:22AM -0500, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> >  The wikipedia description
> >  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAT_(phototypesetter)>
> > seems pretty accurate although I have never seen the beast myself.
> I can confirm the wikipedia description. At Bell Labs, however, we
> did not use paper tape input. As soon as the machine arrived, Joe
> Ossanna bypassed the tape reader so the C/A/T could be driven
> directly from the PDP-11. The manufacturer was astonished.
> The only operational difficulty we had was with the separate
> developer. If you didn't hand feed the end of the paper perfectly
> straight into that machine, the paper would tear. Joe Condon
> fixed that by arranging for the canister to sit on rollers so
> it could give when the paper pulled sideways.
> The first technical paper that came off the C/A/T drew a query
> from the journal editor, who'd never seen a phototypeset
> manuscript before: had it been published elsewhere?
> Doug

I'm extremely jealous of you.  I'm a long time troff fan and would have
loved to have been there during that time.  I'm sure it was far less 
pleasant than my rose colored glasses have it, but it sure seems like
it was fun.  I'd like to have met Joe Ossanna - care to share any stories
about what sort of person, programmer, etc he was?

That's perhaps a whole different thread, I'd love to shove a beer into
each and every bell labs guy hanging around here and get them talking.
Bell Labs was a huge influence on me, be good to have Bell-labs-stories.com
or something filled with your memories.
Larry McVoy                lm at bitmover.com           http://www.bitkeeper.com

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