[TUHS] fmt(1): history, POSIX, -t, -c

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Fri May 29 23:39:01 AEST 2020

On Fri, May 29, 2020 at 1:11 AM Michael Stiller via TUHS <
tuhs at minnie.tuhs.org> wrote:

> It is also included in 2.9BSD, or was it backported:
Just recompiled. I don't think this was one he had to make any changes too.
As Mary Ann and I said, Kurt wrote as part of the UCB Mail package [which
includes delivermail(8) - which was the moral parent to sendmail(8)].

The whole key is that Keith did not have a Vax at the Math department (they
had an 11/70 with max memory) and wanted all of the cool programs that were
being created on the Vax.   Remember, VM is automatic overlays.   So
first with the kernel, and then later with user code, larger and larger
programs were enabled and many of the programs for the Vax migrated to the
PDP-11, as people ran out of address space (IIRC: one the first user
programs that needed to use overlays was ex/vi.  Again, as I recall the
original wnj version by then was such a mess, getting a new/cleaner code
base was a large impetus for Keith to start writing nvi).

Anyway, many smaller programs 'just worked' and the original fmt(1) command
was pretty simple.   As Doug so wisely observed:  "It's hard to
imagine how this
command could stray from classic Unix simplicity and intelligibility, but
Gnu pulled it off."
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