[TUHS] CB-UNIX dsw(1l) Page from PDP-7?

Ron Natalie ron at ronnatalie.com
Sun Jun 4 01:19:29 AEST 2023

Might have been a ditto or mimeograh at some point.   We had such 
section 1 manuals at JHU when I was a student there in 1977.

------ Original Message ------
>From "Marc Donner" <marc.donner at gmail.com>
To "segaloco" <segaloco at protonmail.com>
Cc "The Eunuchs Hysterical Society" <tuhs at tuhs.org>
Date 6/3/23, 8:59:35 AM
Subject [TUHS] Re: CB-UNIX dsw(1l) Page from PDP-7?

>Wow.  I’m impressed … that pdf is clearly of an nth generation 
>photocopy.  What contrast ratio?
>More seriously, this is a delightful proof point that some cruft is 
>really cruft.
>Your document archaeology work is entertaining and instructive.  Thank 
>On Fri, Jun 2, 2023 at 7:04 PM segaloco via TUHS <tuhs at tuhs.org> wrote:
>>While performing my CB-UNIX 2.3 manual separation, among the many 
>>curious things I came across was this manual page: 
>>The dsw(I) pages I've seen in the various UNIX manuals are all for the 
>>interactive delete utility, but make brief mention of the history of 
>>the command being amusing.  I've seen some communication on the matter 
>>of the years here, but had never come across a manual page for the 
>>former version of dsw.
>>In the linked page up there is the actual "delete from switches" 
>>version of dsw.  What I find particularly interesting is that the 
>>footer indicates this was printed 8/11/81, but likewise indicates the 
>>command is "PDP-7 local".
>>This raises a couple of questions:
>>- Did Columbus ever touch PDP-7 UNIX?
>>- Did dsw(I) as "delete from switches" ever make it to PDP-11 UNIX?  
>>Even the V1 manual lists the "delete interactively" utility, not this.
>>- If neither are true, that begs the question of where this page came 
>>from, if there was ever a formalized PDP-7 manual that it would've 
>>descended from or not, etc.
>>Finally, this page plainly spells out the history of the command in 
>>the bugs section:
>>"This command was written in 2 minutes to delete a particular file 
>>that managed to get an 0200 bit in its name.  It should work by 
>>printing the name of each file in a specified directory and requestion 
>>a 'y' or 'n' answer.  Better, it should be an option of rm(1).  The 
>>name is mnemonic, but likely to cause trouble in the future."
>>So the first bug is eventually mitigated by transforming this into the 
>>more familiar dsw.  I can't say what the latter means, whether it's a 
>>concern of "dsw" colliding with some reserved word eventually or is 
>>more poking fun at the other folk etymology of "delete s__t work".
>>In any case, I hadn't seen the etymology explained to this degree in 
>>the mailing list references I found while searching around, so figured 
>>I'd share this analysis.
>>- Matt G.
>>P.S. There is mention here that Dennis Ritchie shared the original dsw 
>>manpage at some point 
>>https://www.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/1999-November/001203.html however 
>>the link in question appears to be dead.  In any case, the source for 
>>the PDP-7 version is in that email if anyone wants to look at it, 
>>although looks to be the same as what is in the archive.
>mindthegapdialogs.com/home <https://www.mindthegapdialogs.com/home>
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