[TUHS] Seeking wisdom from Unix Greybeards

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Fri Nov 27 04:37:46 AEST 2020

    > From: "Theodore Y. Ts'o"

    > was there anything that had similar functionality which pre-dated Bill
    > Joy and termcap in late 70's?

Is your question purely in Unix, or more general?

If the latter, there's the terminal-independent support of video terminals in
ITS; that dates to the mid-1970's (i.e. circa V5 or so). User programs output
device-independent display control codes (I have this memory that they were
called P-Codes, but that could be my memory failing), and the OS translated
them to the appropriate screen-control characters.

One additional hack was that the number of terminal types supported in the OS
was limited; there was however a protocol called SUPDUP which sent (basically)
those device-independent codes over a remote login (originally over NCP) frm
the server machine to the client. The User SUPDUP client supported a lot more
terminal types; so people with odd-ball terminals used to log in, SUPDUP
_back_ to their machine, and away they went.


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