[TUHS] Line Numbers Before SysIII nl? BSD num?

segaloco via TUHS tuhs at tuhs.org
Sat Jul 23 12:57:47 AEST 2022

I've been looking into the history of the nl command lately, which has gotten me curious as to what facilities folks have used at various points in UNIX history for line numbering.

The earliest version of nl I've found is in System III, and it does not derive from Research, PWB, or CB.  Neither does it come from BSD, although BSD has the num command which, according to the source commentary, aims to replicate the '#' behavior of ex.

Were there any other facilities for printing back arbitrary lines from a file with line numbers?

Also, would anyone happen to know if the above appearance of nl might have been from the USG line given none of the others feature it?  It neither seems to be in V8-V10.  nl has managed to find its way into the POSIX standard, so it definitely has some staying power wherever it came from.

- Matt G.

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