[TUHS] Fwd: Origins and life of the pg pager

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon Jun 22 08:40:18 AEST 2020

    > From: Michael Siegel

    > there's no need to write out "less" every time. You can just alias that
    > to "pg" without causing any harm and save two letters, which is an
    > improvement for a task that is performed manually rather often.
It always surpised me that there wasn't more of this - abbreviating the names
of the most-used commands, to minimize typing - or more specifically,
run-length encoding them based on how frequently they were used, with the
most-used ones given the shortest names.

The MIT-DSSR PWB1 system had a pager called just 'p' (source here:


if anyone wants to see it; the man page is dated Apr/77); and 'ls' was tweaked
to recognize the command name 'l' as an alias for 'ls -ls'.

Of course, aliases didn't exist in the shell back then, which was why the
command had to be coded to recognize the short form, and act differently.
(And /bin/l was linked to /bin/ls.)

'l' and 'p' are _still_ aliased in my shell,to this day!

    > I hope it's okay that I chose to reply just to the list address and take
    > all the other addresses out.

'That's not a bug, that's a feature!'

I always delete other addresses when replying to a list, unless I think someone
might not be subscribed to that list.


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