[TUHS] Origins and life of the pg pager

Greg A. Woods woods at robohack.ca
Tue Jun 16 06:19:50 AEST 2020

At Mon, 15 Jun 2020 07:03:53 -0700, Mary Ann Horton <mah at mhorton.net> wrote:
Subject: Re: [TUHS] Origins and life of the pg pager
> My 32V manual does not include pg.
> We got UNIX/32V at Berkeley shortly after we got our Vax and decided
> we didn't like VMS. Early 1979, I think. If it had had pg, Eric
> probably wouldn't have written more.
> So if there was a pg in 32V, it must have been added later.

There is a /usr/src/cmd/pg.c and /usr/bin/pg binary in Unix-32V, but no
manual page.  The pg.c I've seen has the date Nov. 5, 1978.  It uses
newline to proceed one page, '/' or control-Y to restart from the
beginning, '-' or '_' to move back one page (via a 16kb buffer), and '!'
to start a sub-shell.  It prints 20 lines at a time with a formfeed
between each page.  The error message about failing to open a file is
prefixed by "dk:" suggesting it may have had a different name at one

There was also of course a pg.c on the 1980 and 1981 Usenix tapes, and
on the 1983 tape a pg.1l manual page accompanies it.  It was written by
D. A. Gwyn starting sometime before June 1980.  It is unique amongst
programs called "pg".

The pg.c in System V Release 2 has an sccsid of 1.5 (but no date), so
may or may not have evolved from the one in 32V -- however it operates
quite differently and the source doesn't appear to bear any noticeable
resemblance.  The source for this one remains quite recognizable in all
System V derivatives, right up to OpenSolaris.

					Greg A. Woods <gwoods at acm.org>

Kelowna, BC     +1 250 762-7675           RoboHack <woods at robohack.ca>
Planix, Inc. <woods at planix.com>     Avoncote Farms <woods at avoncote.ca>
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