Dan Franklin, senior developer at an educational publishing company, fondly recalls from when he worked at BBN during the 1980s: "The BBN version of UNIX had a page-at-a-time output mode in its terminal driver that would stop the current program's output after each screenful, enabling you to scroll through long output without having to remember to pipe it through a 'more' command (with a "|more") which you had to do in Linux and other UNIX variants.
"You simply set the screen height in your startup script, such as .profile (or .cshrc), that would run each time you logged in, using stty," says Franklin. "For example -- assuming I remember the syntax correctly, it's been a while --
stty height 40
and chose the control character to type to allow the next screenful of output (and chose another character that would allow all the rest of that program's output without pausing it."
"As a developer, I found it very useful for when I ran scripts that produced a surprisingly large amount of output or a lot of error messages," says Franklin. "I did not need to run the command over again in order to see it all. This feature has never been in another version of UNIX or Linux since."
Mainframe editors, Turbo Pascal and memories of the Commodore
Jochen Heyland, a developer at Members Only Software, which provides enterprise software for non-profit organizations, misses an editing feature of the old IBM mainframe XEDIT text editor, which ran in non-GUI environments. "XEDIT had the ability to restrict the file to a part, and have all editing commands, such as 'go to top/search and replace/select to bottom,' only work on that part of the file."
Heyland has been using mostly NotePad, but, he's happy to report, "I just found a Pc XEDIT, a Windows port of xedit!"
Heyland also misses Turbo Pascal 4.0. "It was an easy to learn language, and provided a lighting-fast environment." These days, Heyland is using Embacadero Delphi XE."
Closer to the hardware side of things, Heyland misses the Commodore 64's memory model. "It could overlay hardware, firmware and regular memory as needed, and had no reserved memory sections. This let me write macros that were globally available." When he switched to PCs, he used DOS's TSR (Terminate and Stay-Resident) feature. "Now, I'm using Windows. There's nothing like this old feature there."