79 chars or more?

BartC bartc at freeuk.com
Wed Aug 18 15:34:22 CEST 2010



"Roy Smith" <roy at panix.com> wrote in message 
news:roy-181632.07571818082010 at news.panix.com...
> In article <QKOao.53872$GQ5.12210 at hurricane>,
> "BartC" <bartc at freeuk.com> wrote:
>
>> >> Remember, the old hardcopy terminals used to produce 
>> >> 132-character-wide
>> >> listings.
>> >
>> > Those of you who think "old hardcopy terminals" did 132 wide obviously
>> > don't remember the ASR-33 :-)
>>
>> ASR33s I think might have been 72 columns wide (and punched cards had a
>> similar restriction).
>
> Yeah, I was trying to remember if it was 72 or 80.  Hmmm, looks like
> you're right, it *is* 72 (http://www.pdp8.net/asr33/asr33.shtml).
>
> Punched cards (at least the common ones used by an 029 or 129 punch
> machine) were 80 columns.  The 72 column restriction was an artificial
> one imposed by some programming languages such as Fortran.  Columns
> 73-80 could be used to punch a sequence number, so that if you dropped
> your deck, you could re-assemble it by running it through a card sorter.

I'm sure there was a continuation column too. That would mean long lines had 
to be split up, but if the width was longer, that would not be necessary.

>> However, lineprinter output was more likely to be 132 columns.
>
> Yeah, but I wouldn't call a line printer a "terminal".

Source code tended to be perused and marked up on a printout, then corrected 
at a terminal. So the terminal's width was less important, until fast VDUs 
came in then printouts were used less, and it made sense to adjust to common 
25x80 displays.

(I tend to use 60x100 now, sometimes even wider; editing using 25x80 now is 
like doing keyhole surgery...)

-- 
bartc 




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