[TUHS] Questions about the history of cut(1)

markus schnalke meillo at marmaro.de
Mon May 18 04:00:42 AEST 2015


What started as the plan to write a short portrait of cut(1)
for a free german online magazine (translation to English is
not done yet) became a closer look at the history of cut(1).
Well, the topic got me hooked at some point. The text is still
only about eight pages long and far from scientific quality,
but it features some facts not found in Wikipedia. ;-)

So, let me come to my questions.

1) The oldest version of cut that I found is this one in System III.
(The file date says 1980-04-11.) As the sccsid reads version 1.5,
there must be older code. How can I find it? Is there a story of
how cut appeared for the first time?

2) As far as I found out, POSIX.2-1992 introduced the byte mode
(-b) and added multi-byte support for the character mode. Is
this correct?

3) Old BSD sources reference POSIX Draft 9 (which, it seems,
they implement) but lack multi-byte support and the byte mode.
They also support decreasing lists, which, they state, POSIX
Draft 9 would not.
The only POSIX.2 Draft I have access to is Draft 11.2.
It does specify the multi-byte stuff and does also allow
decreasing lists. Hence, it appears that these things were
added somewhen between Draft 9 and Draft 11.2. Does anyone
know details?

It would be great, if you can give me some pointers for
further research or even share some cut-stories from the
good old days. :-)


In case you understand German, feel free to have a look at the
current version of the text: http://hg.marmaro.de/docs/cut/file/
I welcome your comments, but bear with me, the text issn't meant
to become a doctoral thesis; I just want to write it for fun and
to learn about the historical background.

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