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

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Jul 24 03:35:43 AEST 2022

Norman - I think your memory is fine.

pr -n (lower case) was an addition early on with pr +1 or pr +2 *etc* also
parsed.  I'm going to guess that addition was either a local hack done by a
lot of people or maybe on the Harvard Tape and distributed from there.  It
certainly worked that way in the CMU v6 and later v7.  But I also remember
that I had to reprogram my fingers to pr -N (capital N) when I hit other
versions ??maybe AT&T Sys III??.  I also remember that at CMU, tjk did not
like it  /  was not needed because he contended we already had num(1)
already on the EE systems (but not CS BTW).  Ifwe had had shell aliases in
those days, I might have agreed with him.  But given that it was not part
of v5, v6 or v7, that we only had a num(1) on the EE and Mellon systems and
not generally rippled to the other CMU UNIX systems around campus, I going
to take a WAG that Ted brought num(1) with him from UoMich (- which would
make sense - because the BSD history says Joy wrote it).   So maybe
??probably?? the origin story for num(1) is that it came to UCB from Umich
when Bill and Ted were undergrads there.

FWIW: pr -n  is what macOS does today.

On Sat, Jul 23, 2022 at 8:50 AM Norman Wilson <norman at oclsc.org> wrote:

> I had a vague memory that pr could be made
> to number lines, but a quick check of the 7/e
> manual says no.
> I expect Dan's right, and none of the 127 folks
> felt much need to number lines on printouts
> so nobody wrote the obvious simple tool.
> Ironic, since the Unix PDP-11 used by the patent
> licensing office (and I think shared with the
> research group, and that was how their first
> PDP-11 was justified and funded) happened
> because the patent folks needed line-numbered
> output and roff was easily modified to do that.
> Maybe Doug or Ken or Steve has first-hand
> memories.
> Norman Wilson
> Toronto ON
> (on a train shuffling toward Buffalo)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20220723/1ef51bce/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the TUHS mailing list