NETED: A Common Editor for the ARPA Network (RFC0569)
Original Publication Date: 1973-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-12
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
Network Working Group Mike Padlipsky RFC 569/ NET-USING Memo 1 NET-USING NIC # 18972 October 15, 1973
NETED: A Common Editor for the ARPA Network
At the recent Resource Sharing Workshop, there was a somewhat surprising degree of consensus on what I had anticipated would the least popular aspect of the my "Unified User-Level Protocol" proposal: A number of the attendees agreed without argument that it would be a good thing to have "the same" context editor available on all Servers -- where "the same" refers, of course, to the user interface. We even agreed that "NETED" seemed to be a plausible common name. In view of the fact that the rest of the proposal didn’t seem to capture anybody’s imagination, though, it seemed to be a useful notion to separate out the common editor and make it the subject of a stand-alone proposal.
My resolve to come up with the following was further strengthened at the the organizing meeting of the Network User Interest Group, which followed the Workshop. Being primarily concerned with user issues, this group was downright enthusiastic about the prospect of a common editor. Indeed, this proposal has been reviewed by the group and is endorsed by it.
The need for a common editor might well be obvious to many readers. They are encouraged to skip this section, which is for the benefit of those who don’t already see the light.
In the first place, it’s almost axiomatic that to use a time-sharing system, you have to be able to create files (/"datasets"/"segments"). Even if you’re only using the Network to send "mail", you’d still like to be able to create a file separately, so as to be able to edit it before sending. And if you want to write a program -- or even make a "runoff" source file -- you simply must be able to use some editor command on the system at hand.
Unfortunately, there are even more editors than there are systems; and each one has it own conventions and peculiarities. So "Network users" (who use several Servers, as opposed to those who use the Network only to access a particular system all the time) are faced with the unpleasant chore of developing several sets of incompatible reflexes if they want to get along. This can certainly be done. It has been by a number of members of the Network Working Group.
NETED SPEC p.2
The real kicker, however, comes when we consider the needs of those users -- who are coming into the Network community in ever-increasing numbers -- who are not professional programmers. They just want to get some work done, "on the Net" (that is, irrespective of which operating system they might be talking to). They are likely to be appalled rather than amused by having to learn a dozen ways of getting to first base. Therefore, it seems clear than not only do we need a common editor, but we also need a simple common editor.
Simplicity is not the only criterion for rejecting the apparently "obvious" choice of either TECO or QED. (That it is a strong factor is indicate...