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    “The name dsw is a carryover from the ancient past. Its etymology is amusing.”

    For the record, “dsw” comes from “delete from switches.”

    The way it originally worked is awesome, IIRC. You’d figure out which file you wanted to delete in directory-entry order. You’d then toggle that number (in octal) into the front-panel switches. You then ran dsw, which deleted the file.

    (If I remember correctly, dsw actually ran, crashed when it reached the desired number, and then you ran the core file to delete the desired file. )

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        That’s the “press y to delete” version. Here’s the “flip switches on the front panel” version: https://minnie.tuhs.org/cgi-bin/utree.pl?file=PDP7-Unix/cmd/dsw.s

        The “oac” instruction was “inclusive OR accumulator and switches”.

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      Hosted by an someone who is a geophysicist or something that teaches computer science. Might be an interesting fella.

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        Some of this seems relevant, but some is quite dated. Maybe try more (or even less) for a pager?

        Other parts seem harder to fix. The source for unix (like) systems is now readily available. Don’t like the behavior of the cat *files > allfiles? What and where do you patch?

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          What and where do you patch?

          The Single Unix Specification, in some big working lunch at a fancy conference hotel.

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            The specification is amended to read “the system should work as desired.” Problem solved.

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          Wow! I thought “this sounds like The UNIX-HATERS Handbook!”(1994, PDF) Sure enough, Donald A. Norman read TUHH and wrote a great forward for it.

          Also fun is the anti-foreword by Dennis Ritchie :)

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            That anti-foreword by Ritchie is amazing. That’s one thing about systems and language development from The Good Old Days (yeah yeah, false nostalgia and whatnot) when I read usenet postings from the pioneers of modern systems, its clear that even when they reached something like celebrity status, they never took themselves too seriously. There was a large measure of intellectual playfulness that you don’t see much of anymore.

            Anyway, I really liked this line and I’ll be stealing it if I can manage to commit it to memory:

            The systems you remember so fondly (TOPS-20, ITS, Multics, Lisp Machine, Cedar/Mesa, the Dorado) are not just out to pasture, they are fertilizing it from below.

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              That’s what I thought too

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              Aaaaaaargh! Academics! Judging art as though it were science. Hell-bent on whittling some other poor bastard’s square-peg into the round-hole of their own abstractions.