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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 5th Jun 2021, 11:46 am   #1
saddlestone-man
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Default Control-C, etc

Hello All

When I'm using any editor I still tend to use Cntrl-C (Copy), Cntrl-X (Cut), Cntrl-V (Paste), Cntrl-F (Find), etc.

Does anyone know when/where these commands originated?

best regards ... Stef
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 12:13 pm   #2
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I suspect they date back to the original DOS-days of Wordstar, Borland Sidekick and suchlike.
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 12:19 pm   #3
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

They are old Windows shortcuts. They may have been influenced by the Wordstar word processor under CP/M and DOS. (Posts crossed.)

They are certainly not universal commands. Ctrl-C is a process interrupt command on many OSs including Linux.
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 12:38 pm   #4
duncanlowe
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

The use of Control (Ctrl) commands is much earlier in general though. For example I believe Ctrl-B was the Bell command from when terminals actually had a bell, later the terminals would beep for Ctrl-B.

Edit: sorry Ctrl-G was bell.
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 1:24 pm   #5
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I also use those instinctively. There are many more, P for print etc.
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 1:55 pm   #6
Malcolm G6ANZ
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

It was Larry Tesler who invented ctrl c and ctrl v etc
https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/tesl...obit-1.5470453

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Old 5th Jun 2021, 2:44 pm   #7
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Control-J was the bell on early (Baudot) Teleprinters, I think. Which pre-dates computers.

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Old 5th Jun 2021, 3:04 pm   #8
paulsherwin
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm G6ANZ View Post
It was Larry Tesler who invented ctrl c and ctrl v etc
https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/tesl...obit-1.5470453

Malcolm
Xerox PARC was massively important in the development of modern desktop computing, which is odd for a company which was primarily a photocopier manufacturer. Both Windows and the Mac interface were pretty much stolen from Xerox designs, and they also developed Ethernet, initially as a fast interface for their high end laser printers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PARC_(company)
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 3:14 pm   #9
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

The PC use of the control codes is totally different from their original ASCII meaning, where, for example Ctrl-C is ETX (end of text). Ctrl-G was BEL (ring the bell) in ASCII, on things like the Teletype Model 33 it mechanically rang a little bell inside. On the electronic Teletype 43 there was a solenoid-operated bell (and as a total aside, on the DEC VT5x series of terminals like the well-know VT52, the keyclick was produced by a little relay on one of the boards, the bell consisted of feeding a square wave to this relay so that it buzzed).

There is no control in baudot/murray code (both techincally incorrect names for ITA2). The figure shift of J rang the bell though (or closed a pair of contacts to operate an electric bell)

I seem to remember the early Apple Macintosh machines had 'command' key, often called 'splat' due to the symbol on it, and command-C was cut, command-V was paste, etc. I think Windows simply copied the same letters. But it's been a long time since I used such a machine.
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 7:37 pm   #10
cliff2903
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I think this has been on here before, maybe useful

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...6-cb9706c75eec
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Old 5th Jun 2021, 9:50 pm   #11
saddlestone-man
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Very interesting information, many thanks.

How about Cntrl-Alt-Del as a way of getting out of an application quickly, or to re-boot the OS. Was this a DOS invention?

best regards ... Stef
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Old 6th Jun 2021, 3:54 am   #12
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Ctrl-Alt-Del is picked up by the ROM BIOS keyboard driver of the very first PC (IBM 5150) and effectively causes a reset (look at the routine at address EA71 in the BIOS listing of the PC Techref on bitsavers, page 367 of the .pdf).

Since the 'Alt' key was not common on microcomputers before the 5150, I am pretty sure that was the first machine to use Ctrl-Alt-Del.
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Old 10th Jun 2021, 8:49 pm   #13
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

In the "Wild west" days of software, there were no real standards. In ~1987 IBM releases the "Common User Access" or CUA standard which I remember being given when I worked at a software house in the late 80s, and detailed standard menu layouts, keyboard shortcuts etc for its SAA (System Application Architecture) and this applied to all IBM Operating systems including OS/2 and Windows applications. It was widely adopted by other manufacturers. The keyboard shortcuts were derived based on what other popular systems did (including the work of Larry Tesla as pointed out by Malcolm above). Things like F1 for help and F2 for save were common tropes for software from a number of vendors. It is speculated that IBM drew from the Apple User Interface guidelines that were released a few years earlier and I beleive were based on the research of Xerox and their smalltalk operating system. So its kind of a twisted path, but the major influences over the years ultimately have been Microsoft and Apple who standrdised things across all their OS's and applications and so software developers followed suit.
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Old 11th Jun 2021, 1:33 am   #14
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyDuell View Post
Ctrl-Alt-Del is picked up by the ROM BIOS keyboard driver of the very first PC (IBM 5150) and effectively causes a reset (look at the routine at address EA71 in the BIOS listing of the PC Techref on bitsavers, page 367 of the .pdf).
The equivalent on the Apple IIe was Ctrl-Open Apple-Reset. I'd never used a II and only once touched a II Europlus, but apparently on those models Reset alone performed the same function.
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Old 11th Jun 2021, 3:37 am   #15
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

On the Apple ][ and Europlus the 'reset' key is connected in hardware to the reset circuit for the processor. It is not trapped in software like ctrl-alt-del on the IBM PC. This is true of most older machines, reset is a hardware function, no matter what the software is doing, it will work. On the IBM PC, if the processor is not responding to interrupts, then ctrl-alt-del will do nothing.

As an aside, on later Apple ][ machines there was a slide switch on the keyboard encoder board that gated the reset key with the control key so you had to press the 2 together to get a reset. Again done in hardware. I will have to look in the technical reference manual to see what the //e does.
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Old 13th Jun 2021, 3:27 pm   #16
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I've looked in the Apple //e technical reference manual (a hardback book...) and alas while it contains the circuit diagrams for the various types of motherboard, it does not include diagrams of the keyboard PCB itself. However the reset pin of the 6502 (etc) processor is connected to the keyboard connector and the manual does state that the reset key does not return a keycode, it directly resets the processor when pressed along with <ctrl>. The open-apple and closed-apple keys are sensed by being connected to a couple of input port lines (the 'games port' inputs on the Apple ][), I've not bothered to read through the ROM source in said manual to see what they do.

If anyone really wants to know what the reset key does I can dig out my //e, take it apart and trace out the reset section of the keyboard pcb. But only if it's essential.
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Old 13th Jun 2021, 4:31 pm   #17
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I remember some of the early SUN servers where sending a _long-break_ from the console would drop things into single-user mode.

Cue a certain RS232 reverse-terminal-server being installed to allow a rack of Suns to be remotely consoled-to over TCP/IP from a single VT100-session on your laptop.

Alas, if you power-cycled this thing it sent a long-break.... to every connected device....
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Old 13th Jun 2021, 7:06 pm   #18
Slothie
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

I remember being at a computer show, and there was a guy selling little boxes to go over the Apple ][ reset button (which was precariously close to the return key). To reset the computer you had to remove the box to press the button!
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Old 14th Jun 2021, 4:12 am   #19
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Some time back I worked on a Computest unit, I mentioned it here. One puzzle I had was that the reset key (which like other machines of a similar vintage provides a hardware reset to the processor) seemed to do nothing.

It turned out there's a bit of logic on the keyboard PCB includng a monostable with a period of a couple of seconds. You have to hold the reset key down until the monostable times out for there to be a reset. Release it before that and nothing happens. This struck me as a rather neat way to protect against accidentally hitting the reset key.
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Old 14th Jun 2021, 7:09 pm   #20
wireman
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Default Re: Control-C, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
I remember some of the early SUN servers where sending a _long-break_ from the console would drop things into single-user mode.
That must have been very very early because I remember a break or L1-A would put you into the PROM and I started with the Sun4 SPARC era.
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