[TUHS] manual humour (was tunefs -m 5%)

George Michaelson ggm at algebras.org
Thu Mar 11 13:54:39 AEST 2021

I Still use ed periodically.  Less often, but sometimes.

Sometimes, its for nostalgia. It never lasts. The past isn't as rosy
as we like to think it was. You have to be very confident you know
what your doing, to not wind up saying p a lot, to "see" it. It
demands you think.

Sometimes, it's for functionality. You kind of know you could do this
in sed, but, you aren't 100% sure, ed means you can "look" at some
/match lines and then craft the s/pat/repl/ and wq and go home. Thats
kind of using p too.

Sometimes, it's for expediency. You stuffed up. Nothing else seems to
work. This editor works. Hammer, screw.. good enough. Ed can cope with
very large data better than some alternatives. Less litter. I hate
finding .swp files and vi -r is frankly disgusting. Its indeterminite
what it is r(ecovering) from. don't get me started on #file or file~
trash either.

I loved ed, and I lived in ed far more than ex/vi until about 1985/6
when something flipped. I think its possible, that vi muscle memory
took over, and jove/gosmacs/emacs became too confusing (I had flirted
with this but not coding LISP made it silly, I was really only using
the keystroke-recording macro to do dirty edits by "yea, same as the
last time" tricks)

Mike Lesk showed me MGR. I actually got really depressed at that
point. I felt like I'd been working under a rock, not understanding
what was possible. Sunview kind of also sucked me in, with an emphasis
on Sucked because it did. Not really about the editor, but the whole
"ok THIS is what efficient looks like" combined with tiling and other
things, it just made ed sort-of walk into the background a bit. Hard
to focus when you're being offered a vision of 4D hypercube projected
onto a 2D surface. I didn't stick on MGR. It was too off-beam of what
other people around me were doing. I was asked if I could fix some
minor nits in it, thats when I realised I lacked fundamental clue (it
is also why I seem to be the only person I know who doesn't totally
hate the idea of the google 'be this smart to enter' testing: It
obviously DOES work to weed some people out)

Socialised aspects of "what editor do you use" can't be
under-estimated, for anyone who is essentially using tools not writing
them. If you wrote an editor, you probably got to the right place
faster. If you use one, you wind up being 10 years in before you ask
yourself "how does infinite undo work really" and learn about things
like Merkle trees or whatever. Editors do a lot.


More information about the TUHS mailing list