∑ Xah Lee 李杀

back in 1981, you have computers that display graphics like this, and optical mouse. that's before Apple made it popular. pictured is one of machine work station. xahlee.info/kbd/space-cadet_ke

note the LMI logo. It's cons cell, which is the building block of lisp's list. but also, Guy Steele Says: Don't Iterate, Recurse, and Get rid of cons! xahlee.info/comp/Guy_Steele_pa

@xahlee these big ol' LISP machines had the most glorious keyboards! :blobaww:

I used to work on Xerox 1108 "Dandelion" and 1186 "Daybreak" machines. They were brilliant - far in advance of any software development environment we have today.


@simon_brooke hi Simon, am trying to get an overview of keyboards used by emacs people during 70s and 80s. Would you help me out? If you could, i'd need a list the keyboards/terminal you used, and year period, before 1990, as much as you can remember?

@xahlee Oh, shoot, I don't think I could really name the keyboards. My personal favourite keyboards are compact Cherrys - G84-4100 and similar - because they're long lived, have good touch, and don't clutter the desk.

I've certainly used real VT100s and various VT100 clones (which were mostly better). I also used early IBM PC and RS6000 terminals, but I wasn't very keen on their keyboards (I know other folk rave over them). >>>

@xahlee The keyboards on Sun II workstations were OK. The original 128k Macintosh and 512k 'Fat Mac' keyboards were a bit weird - clunkily deep - but nice and compact.

BBC Micro keyboards were also remarkably nice, given they were relatively inexpensive machines. Indeed, all Acorn keyboards I can remember were good except the Electron, which was distinctly cheap. >>>

@xahlee Other 'home computers' of the period mostly had pretty dreadful keyboards - chicklets, or membrane, or rubber buttons overlaying a membrane, or (in the case of the Sinclair QL) actual plastic keytops sat on a membrane.

The Xerox 1108 keyboard was an ENORMOUS thing - worked well, nice touch, but HUGE. The 1186 keyboard was svelte in comparison - similar to PC keyboards of the period (1986).

@xahlee Come to think of it, the best VT100 clones I used were Wyse terminals - Probably WYSE 55. I really liked the amber screen ones which were very easy on the eyes, but green on black is a lot better than black on white.

@simon_brooke thanks a lot for the info. I'll have to digest / search half of them.

can you list them by year period? e.g. used x1 year y1 to y2. rough dates from memory. that' be tremendous help.

@simon_brooke i haven't been around. only started to use computer in 1990.

of the ones you mentioned, i only knew vt100. :)

@xahlee It's worth noting that one of the major fights we had during the Common Lisp standardisation process was that the US military insisted nothing could be case sensitive since they were still using a lot of upper-case-only terminals.

@simon_brooke ha, yeah, that's interesting.
was any of the lisps before CL case sensitive?
i know Scheme was case sensitive, and it's older than CL... (or wait, was i mistaken?)

@xahlee InterLisp-D was case sensitive, with a lot of the core functions having upper-case only names (for legacy reasons) but must of the newer stuff using camel case. We also used camel case in Portable Standard Lisp, although PSL core functions were lower-case-with-hyphens (like modern Clojure).

@simon_brooke so good to hear these stories! Thanks.

I'm mostly emacs lisp coder since 2006. But had some Scheme lisp experience since 1999, and know Mathematica quite well since 1994.

@xahlee I think Scheme is older than Common Lisp... It's certainly older than the Common Lisp standard, because it was one of the Lisps considered for the standard.

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