Questions tagged [shell]

for questions about shell interfaces on retrocomputers

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32
votes
4answers
5k views

Why was 'echo on' chosen as the default setting within batch scripts in MS-DOS?

In my experience, just about every single MS-DOS (and thus Windows cmd) batch file starts with the line @echo off, to silently switch off echoing of the commands in the batch file to the console. This ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

Why did 8-bit computers choose BASIC dialects as “de facto” command-line interface, instead of contemporary Shell/Lisp dialects?

While all three clans of languages predated 8-bit computers, they shares features like 1) imperative programming, 2) English-alike keywords, 3) Prompt-Command-Parameters pattern interface. Why was ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Using only one terminal, can I interrupt a process that's hung on very early Unix versions?

Within modern shells, I am able to leave a process via one of two control sequences: Usually Ctrl + C will directly send SIGINT to the majority of shell commands (e.g. ping, echo, cat) A few ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the 'echo' command called 'echo'?

This is an essentially trivial question, but anyway: several operating systems have a command to display a specified text string on the terminal, or standard out, or whatever (depends on system to ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Was there an autocomplete utility in MS-DOS?

MS-DOS (at least 6.22) had optional features such as DOSKEY to remember the command line history, which is now standard on modern command prompts. However, I'm not aware of an autocomplete feature, ...
4
votes
2answers
289 views

DOS/4DOS Prompt with animated characters?

I have a vivid memory of a guy I knew back in the day who had a custom prompt with a small character animation. The way I remember it there was a sequence like |,/,--,\,| in the prompt. This wasn't ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

DOS, create pipe for stdin/stdout of command.com(or 4dos.com) in C or Batch?

I'm working on a retro project and was trying to create a pipe of stdin/out/err in DOS, but I can't find any functions to to this? For instance the pipe() command from unistd.h isn't present in ...
9
votes
1answer
278 views

Amiga ed removes flags

Recently I noticed a strange behavior when editing startup-sequence with ed. Unless I call protect startup-sequence rwed before editing it, ed says unable to write the file. Saving the file ...
8
votes
1answer
641 views

How do specify drives to mount when Amiga 1200 starts up

I have an Amiga 1200 with an SD card and Classic WB installed. I have four drives DH0, DH1, DH2, DH3, when I start the machine with workbench it mounts all devices. If if start the machine using skip ...
13
votes
1answer
3k views

How many lines of code were in the first Unix version (with the Thompson shell)?

How many lines of code were in the first Unix version (with the Thompson shell)? Given that the modern Linux kernel has about 15 million lines of code, I do wonder of the amount with the first Unix ...
7
votes
2answers
633 views

Does ancient UNIX create a new shell process for each terminal?

In Linux, each terminal is associated with a new shell process. For example, here I have two xterm terminals, and each xterm terminal has an associated shell process: I am wondering if in the old ...
28
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the command.com shell work with MS-DOS?

On my systems that are running MS-DOS, I change the default command.com to 4DOS for more features. How was the shell system designed and how did it with the operating system in MS-DOS that it enabled ...