Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends


			      USENET Archives

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!linus!vaxine!wjh12!genrad!decvax!cca!z
From: z...@cca.UUCP (Steve Zimmerman)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <6841@cca.UUCP>
Date: Sun, 4-Mar-84 20:02:30 EST
Article-I.D.: cca.6841
Posted: Sun Mar  4 20:02:30 1984
Date-Received: Tue, 6-Mar-84 01:01:39 EST
Lines: 95

As the author of one of the original versions of terminal paging in the
kernel (known locally as "page mode"), I have been rather surprised by
the strong opposition to it by a number of people in this newsgroup.  To
a large extent, the arguments opposed to page mode remind me lot of a
few years ago when many people were arguing against the use of screen
editors.  In both cases, most people opposed to the new feature had
never used it on a regular basis; the few people who had had used a
particularly brain damaged implementation, and had then begun arguing
against all implementations.

I think the most important people to listen to are the users of a
system, who vote with their keyboards.  When page mode was about to be
brought up here at CCA three years ago, our users were split fairly
evenly between those who were in favor of of it, those who had no
opinion, and those who had their doubts.  Page mode was installed as the
default for all users, with each user having the ability to disable it
by putting an "stty -page" in his or her .login file.  After the first
few days, there were only two users in our user population of several
dozen who decided to disable it; even these two ended up changing their
minds and enabling it over the next several months.  Over the three
years since then, as our user population has multiplied many times, no
one else has ever disabled page mode, and no one has even complained
about it.

This record would seem to say that the objections against page mode can
be met quite successfully.  The version we are now running has evolved
over the years, and contains input from a number of other sites as well.
Here are my answers to the objections I've heard:

	Certain special programs (such as those that send data over a
	terminal line) would get totally messed up by page mode.

This is similar to an argument that screen editors should not be used
because there are still a lot of hardcopy terminals out there.  I would
guess that none of the people who have made this argument have ever used
a page mode, because in every one I've ever seen there is a simple
command (usually an option of stty) to turn it off or on.  In several
implementations such as ours, if you don't want the output of a
particular command to be paged, you can just hit a single control
character (^A in our case) any time after entering the command, and page
mode is then disabled until you start typing again.  Contrast the
ability to turn off page mode temporarily in the middle of a command
with the inability on vanilla Unix systems to start paging output in the
middle of a command.
	
	Lots of programs such as editors will need to be modified so
	that they temporarily turn off page mode.

Page mode is automatically disabled in RAW and CBREAK modes, which is
what these programs typically run in.  On our system, not a single
program had to be modified to be made compatible with page mode.
	
	It's a real annoyance to have to type the space bar every 24
	lines, no matter what is happening.

Some terminals have a hardware scrolling mode, which stops output after
every 24 lines.  I have the same complaint about these terminals, and
never use this feature on them.  However, a reasonable page mode does
not work this way.  Output is only stopped if a screenful has gone by
since the user last typed something.

	It's hard to tell whether output has stopped at the end of a
	page, or whether the program has died, or the system has
	crashed.

This is another complaint from people who have apparently never used a
reasonable page mode.  Some implementations of page mode print
<<STOPPED>> in the lower left hand corner of the screen; ours does a
carriage return but not a linefeed after the last line, so that the
cursor is underlining the character in the lower left hand corner of the
screen.  Both behaviors are quite unique, and I have never hear a user
of either of these systems make the above complaint.

	Page mode does not belong in the kernel.

Or, to quote from a recent article that raised this argument:  "It is
the job of the device driver to SIMPLY and DIRECTLY control the
resource, not to try to "help" me when I may not want or need to be
helped."  By that definition, the erase and kill functions of the
terminal driver should be moved out of the kernel, maybe into "more".
Do people think that that would be a good idea?  Page mode should be in
the terminal driver for exactly the same reasons that erase and kill
processing are there:  it is useful for an overwhelming number of
programs, it is more efficiently implemented in the kernel than anywhere
else, and it is simple to implement in the kernel.  My first
implementation of page mode was a couple of dozen lines of code; the
current version is somewhat larger, but it is still on the order of the
size and complexity of most of the other features in the terminal
driver.  The overall effect of putting page mode into the terminal
driver is to reduce the load on the system; on a heavily loaded system
such as ours with dozens of logged in users, getting rid of all the
"more" processes and the memory and context switching associated with
them makes a noticeable difference in the load.

	Steve Zimmerman

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10.1 exptools 1/6/84; site ihuxx.UUCP
Path: utzoo!linus!vaxine!wjh12!genrad!decvax!harpo!ihnp4!ihuxx!ignatz
From: ign...@ihuxx.UUCP (Dave Ihnat, Chicago, IL)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <690@ihuxx.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 6-Mar-84 04:30:32 EST
Article-I.D.: ihuxx.690
Posted: Tue Mar  6 04:30:32 1984
Date-Received: Wed, 7-Mar-84 00:29:19 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP>
Organization: AT&T Bell Labs, Naperville, IL
Lines: 60

In response to Steve Zimmerman's defense of page mode in the kernel
driver:

Steve, you've answered a number of objections cleanly and
convincingly.  I would like to take this opportunity to point out two
important items:

	- ANY time anyone talks about adding *anything* to the Unix(Tm)
	  kernel, it's most emphatically a subject for protracted
	  discussion.  One of the most important things Unix forced on an
	  operating system was excision of 'features' that weren't
	  critically required in the kernel, e.g., record maintenance in
	  the file system).  Any move to add something to the kernel is a
	  move in the other direction; thus, whether they yelped for an
	  intelligent, reasoned reason or from dogmatism, those who questioned
	  your move were *RIGHT* to do so.  Their, and your, following
	  discussions justify or invalidate the change.

	-When considering such modifications to the kernel, you have to
	 consider if the benefits, as analyzed by either you or the user
	 community, is a real benefit because of the quality of your
	 change, or because of the shortcomings of Unix!

Why did I bring up such self-obvious questions?  Simply because I
still believe you're wrong to put such code in the kernel.  Why?
First, the kernel should only contain code that manages critical
system resources--and the paging of your terminal isn't a critical
system resource.  (Why?  Because the system is already managing access
to your terminal, which *is* a critical resource.  Why is raw/cooked
in the kernel, if paging shouldn't be?  To be honest, I'm not totally
certain that it belongs there!)

So, what are the reasons you *shouldn't* put such things in the 
kernel?  Because of just exactly the type of thing you mention--the
arguments that came up when full-screen editors began to proliferate.
*You* are making assumptions about what a terminal is, in a piece of
common code--that it's 24 lines long, and maybe 80 characters wide.
Are there other types of terminals?  Is there not a trend toward
larger screens, or bitmapped, variable font terminals??  Maybe...so
do you change the kernel code---again and again---or make this
performance-critical piece of code dependent on conditional tests,
external config files, etc.?  You mention the expense of all the
'more' processes--totally true!!  But doesn't this point to a need
for a better way of handling the use of identical processes on Unix,
rather than embedding more necessarily hardware- or assumption-dependent
code in the kernel??  (Like, maybe shared-text process slots for
system-wide shared text?  Or whatever.)

I guess the end of all of this is that it's horribly easy to add twenty or
thirty lines of code to the kernel to handle a special case.  But,
eventually, this way lies the large, over-specialized OS's of the
sixties and early seventies, such as OS-360 or even  GCOS-6.  We've
already got the problem of divergent Unix systems:  Berkeley and Bell.
(DON'T get me started on BSD...)  Let's not stumble BACK into the
errors made 20 years ago!

			Glad to accept mail on this topic,

				Dave Ihnat
				ihuxx!ignatz

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!burl!ulysses!harpo!decvax!cca!z
From: z...@cca.UUCP (Steve Zimmerman)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <6862@cca.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 6-Mar-84 17:22:05 EST
Article-I.D.: cca.6862
Posted: Tue Mar  6 17:22:05 1984
Date-Received: Tue, 13-Mar-84 09:03:41 EST
Lines: 19

Dave Ihnat brings up an objection to page mode that I neglected to
answer in my original message and which, for the sake of completeness, I
feel obliged to answer:

	*You* are making assumptions about what a terminal is, in a piece of
	common code--that it's 24 lines long, and maybe 80 characters wide.

Page mode has never made any such assumptions.  Even the original, two
dozen line version had code for an ioctl to set the terminal screen
size.  This ioctl is typically used by stty; when the user says "stty
page", the stty program uses termcap to find the size of the screen, and
then uses this as an argument to the ioctl.  Alternatively, you can do
something like "stty page 66" to override what termcap believes.  The
important thing to note is that you have full functionality and
generality here, yet it is the user program (in this case stty) that
does most of the work.  I've always been for keeping the kernel simple;
I've saved all my complicated code for my EMACS!

	Steve Zimmerman

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!henry
From: he...@utzoo.UUCP (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <3603@utzoo.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 6-Mar-84 18:53:10 EST
Article-I.D.: utzoo.3603
Posted: Tue Mar  6 18:53:10 1984
Date-Received: Tue, 6-Mar-84 18:53:10 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP>
Organization: U of Toronto Zoology
Lines: 30

Our experiences with kernel paging here parallel Steve Zimmerman's:
extensive skepticism in the beginning (including me), total acceptance
after a little bit of real experience.  Ours isn't even as fancy as
Steve's, and we love it just the same.  (Ours is essentially the one
Geoff Collyer posted a while ago; he got it from us.  We do not yet
have a turn-paging-off-temporarily character, but plan to add one.)
Try it, you'll like it.  Really.

I would like to add one thing to Steve's fairly complete rebuttal of
the critics.  Another criticism that has been seen is:

	The current kernel doesn't know anything about all the
	strange terminals out there.  It is dreadfully unclean
	to add virtual-terminal stuff to it.

Well, I would argue the last part at some length, if the virtual-
terminal stuff is being added for some useful purpose like implementing
a window system.  But I don't need to argue that here, because the
first part of this objection is full of s**t.  Have you ever looked
at the definition of, say, the NL1 delay bit?  This is found in very
nearly every Unix in existence, and it is custom-tuned for a terminal
that nobody in his right mind has used for a decade.  The V7 Unix
kernel contains a fairly complete virtual-terminal system for hardcopy
terminals circa 1972.  About half the bits in the tty mode are dedicated
to this exact purpose.  So please don't complain about putting code
that knows about terminals into the kernel; it's been there all along.
The problem is that it was never updated to match modern terminals.
-- 
				Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology
				{allegra,ihnp4,linus,decvax}!utzoo!henry

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10.1+some 2/3/84; site dual.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!floyd!harpo!ulysses!mhuxl!ihnp4!dual!mats
From: m...@dual.UUCP (Mats Wichmann)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <334@dual.UUCP>
Date: Thu, 8-Mar-84 16:49:38 EST
Article-I.D.: dual.334
Posted: Thu Mar  8 16:49:38 1984
Date-Received: Sat, 10-Mar-84 07:23:20 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP> <690@ihuxx.UUCP> <216@masscomp.UUCP>
Organization: Dual Systems, Berkeley, CA
Lines: 21

<>
    Without getting too involved in the terminal paging issue (other than
    to note without justification that I oppose it) I wanted to comment
    on the statement that we are making assumptions about the sizes
    of disk drives in the kernel. WE are most definitely not making any
    assumptions about disk sizes in the kernel - we encode this information
    on a reserved area on the disk. On the first access to a drive, this
    reserved area is read, and the number of heads-tracks-sectors, the
    device partitions, and the bad block map (if any) is pulled in.
    I think you would find that many of the micro-UNIX vendors are
    doing the same thing: we usually have to support too many different
    configurations to be able to have a different kernel for each one -
    massive distribution headaches would ensue (especially for bad block
    handling). If there were a way to obtain this information for each 
    terminal WITHOUT hardcoding it into the kernel, this portion of the 
    paging dispute would go away - but I don't see any way to do that.....


	Mats Wichmann
	Dual Systems Corp.
	...{ucbvax,amd70,ihnp4,cbosgd,decwrl,fortune}!dual!mats

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!henry
From: he...@utzoo.UUCP (Henry Spencer)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <3618@utzoo.UUCP>
Date: Sat, 10-Mar-84 20:02:13 EST
Article-I.D.: utzoo.3618
Posted: Sat Mar 10 20:02:13 1984
Date-Received: Sat, 10-Mar-84 20:02:13 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP> <690@ihuxx.UUCP> <216@masscomp.UUCP> 
<334@dual.UUCP>
Organization: U of Toronto Zoology
Lines: 15

Mats Wichmann observes, in part:
    
    .......... If there were a way to obtain this information for each 
    terminal WITHOUT hardcoding it into the kernel, this portion of the 
    paging dispute would go away - but I don't see any way to do that.....

"Hardcoding into the kernel"??!?!??  I wish people would assume that
the advocates of in-kernel pagination aren't completely crazy.  Our
system takes some pains to get the value of $TERM correct, and the code
that enables paging uses $TERM to find out (from termcap) the size and
whatnot of the terminal screen.  This isn't hardcoded into the kernel
any more than vi's terminal handling is!!
-- 
				Henry Spencer @ U of Toronto Zoology
				{allegra,ihnp4,linus,decvax}!utzoo!henry

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10.1 6/24/83; site mit-eddie.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!burl!ulysses!harpo!ihnp4!mit-eddie!barmar
From: bar...@mit-eddie.UUCP (Barry Margolin)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <1417@mit-eddie.UUCP>
Date: Sat, 10-Mar-84 23:15:25 EST
Article-I.D.: mit-eddi.1417
Posted: Sat Mar 10 23:15:25 1984
Date-Received: Sun, 11-Mar-84 07:05:57 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP> <690@ihuxx.UUCP> <216@masscomp.UUCP> 
<334@dual.UUCP>
Organization: MIT, Cambridge, MA
Lines: 37


    If there were a way to obtain this information for each 
    terminal WITHOUT hardcoding it into the kernel, this portion of the 
    paging dispute would go away - but I don't see any way to do that.....

Sure there is - the user tells the kernal how many lines and columns
there are.  I have seen references to "stty page 24".  You could
simplify it by allowing "stty type vt100"; stty would look vt100 up in
termcap to find out the number of lines, and then make the appropriate
system call.  This way you don't need the type table in the kernal, just
the ability to make use of the information in the table.  In some cases
you can even do better than requiring the user to use stty: many
terminals have a recognizable answerback, so when it dials up Unix can
send an ENQ and see if it recognizes the answerback.

Those of you who are against terminal paging in the kernal have not been
very constructive.  Anyone have any suggestions for a way to get this
affect without doing it in the kernal?  I am very sympathetic to those
who believe that the kernal should only be used for the low-level device
control that requires privileged instructions.  However, the pipe
mechanism doesn't provide enough functionality to do what we want.  I
just experimented with
	ncsh|more
and discovered that I didn't see anything until I filled up a page or
sent EOF (which was better than what happened when I tried
	csh|more
which didn't even echo and didn't recognize ^D).  In addition, there is
no way to perform ioctl's on filters (I could be wrong - I am not that
much of a wizard), and many programs use isatty, which will fail on
pipes.  I suppose it could be done with pseudo-tty's, but that will put
a much larger burden on the system than one would want.

So, either put up or shut up.  The fact is that someone has made very
minor kernal modifications to add a very useful feature.
-- 
			Barry Margolin
			ARPA: barmar@MIT-Multics
			UUCP: ..!genrad!mit-eddie!barmar

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Posting-Version: version B 2.10.1+some 2/3/84; site dual.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!burl!we13!ihnp4!dual!mats
From: m...@dual.UUCP (Mats Wichmann)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <372@dual.UUCP>
Date: Tue, 20-Mar-84 11:18:08 EST
Article-I.D.: dual.372
Posted: Tue Mar 20 11:18:08 1984
Date-Received: Wed, 21-Mar-84 02:44:27 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP> <690@ihuxx.UUCP> <216@masscomp.UUCP> 
<334@dual.UUCP> 
<1417@mit-eddie.UUCP>
Organization: Dual Systems, Berkeley, CA
Lines: 37

I have learned something from this discussion. Number one is to try harder
to keep my foot out of my mouth. I had not really meant to comment on the
topic at hand, only to respond to the comment about the disk partitions
and sizes being wired into the driver. I am now in the process of pulling
together a summary of what I have seen on this topic, this will be more
carefully thought out than my previous submission. Expect posting in a few
days (hold breath in eager anticipation....and it won't all be anti-paging).

I do have to respond to the flames I have gotten, however, because I feel
badly scorched. I worried about informing the pager about the characteristics
of the terminal. I got flames to the effect of `EVER HEARD OF TERMCAP?'. 
Okay, I have heard of termcap. I even use it. The pager is informed through
an ioctl how many lines/characters the screen will hold. Now - how is this
ioctl performed? First you have to find out what the terminal type is...
this problem has not really been solved. Notice that Berkeley used to use
ttytype (is this still the case for 4.2). Have you noticed Bell releases
with this feature in them? All UniSoft System III/V releases are also
missing this handy little feature...(although I quickly put it in for our
system). What about dialups - TSET options handle specifying the teriminal
type on login to a dialup, but not everybody supports tset either. A pager
such as more knows when output is directed to a terminal and when it isn't,
and behaves appropriately. Have you built the same knowledge into the
kernel? I presume you have, since otherwise you would have had lots of
complaints - or is every program responsible for sending out the ioctl
to stop paging (which would be a real mess).

I am not arguing against the idea of kernel paging here - just showing
my ignorance and asking a few questions that still bother me. Answers
anyone (WITHOUT the flames, this time).


	    Mats Wichmann
	    Dual Systems Corp.
	    ...{ucbvax,amd70,ihnp4,cbosgd,decwrl,fortune}!dual!mats

  It now became apparent (despite the lack of library paste)	 
  that something had happened to the vicar;	[ Edward Gorey ]

Relay-Version: version B 2.10 5/3/83; site utzoo.UUCP
Path: utzoo!watmath!clyde!floyd!harpo!decvax!cca!z
From: z...@cca.UUCP (Steve Zimmerman)
Newsgroups: net.unix-wizards
Subject: Re: Terminal paging in the kernel
Message-ID: <6954@cca.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 21-Mar-84 09:12:59 EST
Article-I.D.: cca.6954
Posted: Wed Mar 21 09:12:59 1984
Date-Received: Thu, 22-Mar-84 02:17:53 EST
References: <6841@cca.UUCP> <690@ihuxx.UUCP> <216@masscomp.UUCP> 
<334@dual.UUCP> 
<1417@mit-eddie.UUCP> dual.372
Lines: 29

More answers to criticisms of page mode:

	First you have to find out what the terminal type is... this
	problem has not really been solved.

Although there may be no 100% foolproof way of doing this that works
automatically every time, the problem certainly has been solved in the
general case.  Whether people are using Berkeley Unix and ttytype or USG
Unix and some other mechanism, the fact is that regular users of
terminal dependent programs such as screen editors or "more" (and that
should include just about everybody) already have some mechanism for
getting their terminal type set correctly, either by the system or in
their .login or .profile file.  Once this is done, issuing the "stty
page" command I described previously, typically in the .login or
.profile file, works just fine.  Although we run Berkeley Unix, most
of our terminals hang off a port selector, so the ttytype file is of
little use to us.  Yet with a little intelligence in people's .login
files, the terminal type is set correctly for whatever programs want to
use it.  In practice, no problems have arisen.

	A pager such as more knows when output is directed to a terminal
	and when it isn't, and behaves appropriately. Have you built the
	same knowledge into the kernel?

Page mode is built into the terminal driver, and handles output from the
terminal.  When output is directed somewhere else, the page mode code is
never called.

	Steve Zimmerman

			        About USENET

USENET (Users’ Network) was a bulletin board shared among many computer
systems around the world. USENET was a logical network, sitting on top
of several physical networks, among them UUCP, BLICN, BERKNET, X.25, and
the ARPANET. Sites on USENET included many universities, private companies
and research organizations. See USENET Archives.

		       SCO Files Lawsuit Against IBM

March 7, 2003 - The SCO Group filed legal action against IBM in the State 
Court of Utah for trade secrets misappropriation, tortious interference, 
unfair competition and breach of contract. The complaint alleges that IBM 
made concentrated efforts to improperly destroy the economic value of 
UNIX, particularly UNIX on Intel, to benefit IBM's Linux services 
business. See SCO v IBM.

The materials and information included in this website may only be used
for purposes such as criticism, review, private study, scholarship, or
research.

Electronic mail:			       WorldWideWeb:
   tech-insider@outlook.com			  http://tech-insider.org/