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Questions tagged [terminal]

For questions related to terminals such as WYSE, VT100 and Teletype.

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105 votes
7 answers
49k views

Exactly what color was the text on monochrome terminals with green-on-black and amber-on-black screens?

I am wondering what were the color shades and brightness of the text appearing on classic monochrome terminals? If I were to recreate approximately the green-text-on-black-screen or amber-text-on-...
Basil Bourque's user avatar
56 votes
2 answers
9k views

How was the blinking terminal cursor invented?

I was just staring at my blinking terminal cursor: And was wondering where it comes from. Does anybody have some piece of history about the blinking cursor? I couldn't find much online. E.g.: when/...
Gohu's user avatar
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49 votes
5 answers
7k views

What protocol do Teletypes use?

(By "Teletype" I mean all teletypewriters compatible with the protocol used by the Teletype.) The Teletype was the dumbest of all dumb terminals, which meant that it was cheap. This means that it was ...
wizzwizz4's user avatar
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47 votes
6 answers
8k views

What is a Dumb Terminal?

There seems to be some confusion what a 'Dumb' terminal is as visible in answers and comments to this question about portable dumb terminals. So: What is a Dumb Terminal? Points that would help to ...
Raffzahn's user avatar
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39 votes
4 answers
13k views

History of Ctrl-S and Ctrl-Q for flow control

Which OS was the first to use Ctrl-S and Ctrl-Q on the console for pause and continue? I first discovered Ctrl-S in IBM PC DOS 1.1.
Old Geezer's user avatar
35 votes
2 answers
4k views

What mid-1970s to mid-1980s home computers had their graphics characters added to Unicode 13?

The Unicode 13.0.0 release notes mention among the symbol additions: 214 graphic characters that provide compatibility with various home computers from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s and with early ...
natevw's user avatar
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26 votes
8 answers
4k views

Did terminals (e.g. VT100) require a terminal driver on the host computer?

I'm wondering if terminals (like, e.g. the VT100) required the installation of a driver on the host system in order to work with that host? I looked at the documentation of the VT102, and there is ...
weibeld's user avatar
  • 531
26 votes
3 answers
3k views

How and what did it mean to connect to ARPANET from home?

In the iWoz biography, I read: Now, TV terminals I already knew a little about. […] I'd already built a terminal that could access the ARPANET, the government-owned network of computers that was the ...
natevw's user avatar
  • 2,947
26 votes
4 answers
4k views

When you type on a computer terminal, how are the characters displayed on the screen?

Assume that the following computer terminal is connected to a large computer: When I type something on the keyboard (for example: pwd), is it the computer terminal the one that receives the ...
user7681202's user avatar
  • 1,857
25 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the difference between the "Return" and "Enter" keys in the VT100 terminal?

What is the difference between the "Return" and "Enter" keys in the VT100 terminal:
user7681202's user avatar
  • 1,857
21 votes
9 answers
4k views

Were there ever any dumb terminals in a portable form factor?

I’m curious if there was ever a case of a company making some sort of serial ASCII terminal, but in a portable factor, such as a laptop or even reasonable luggable. I’ve seen plenty of portable ...
an earwig's user avatar
  • 529
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

Emulate a text-mode DOS program using a Unix terminal

Is it possible to run a text-mode DOS program in an emulator under a Unix-like operating system (Linux/*BSD/macOS) such that DOS text-mode input and output is done on a Unix terminal instead of a ...
Lassi's user avatar
  • 273
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

How did SABRE work interactively without screens?

The SABRE airline reservation system went online in 1964, astonishing the world by being among other things the first large-scale interactive computing system. Once the IBM 3270 video terminals were ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.7k
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

What was the last terminal to include a physical bell?

Drew asks: … what was the latest terminal produced which rang a physical bell rather than beeping through a speaker?
scruss's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
4k views

How did early video terminals convert ASCII into font graphics?

I'm building a Z80-based breadboard computer from scratch to learn more about simple processors, and I'm a bit stumped when it comes to the base concepts of building a text-based terminal. I've got an ...
lowercasename's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why is the serial port driver named "/dev/ttyS#"?

Based on my understanding, a tty means a computer terminal/teletype, and that /dev/ttyS1 is the driver for serial port 1/COM1 (or more accurately, a driver for UART chip 1 I suppose). But I don't ...
Steve's user avatar
  • 253
15 votes
3 answers
1k views

Different escape codes for the same keyboard keys -- where did they come from?

While debugging uart on some microcontroller board, I've made a simple firmware that simply responds on every byte received dumping that byte in HEX like "0x**". Then, using different terminal ...
lvd's user avatar
  • 10.7k
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the history of the Intel 8275 video controller?

The highly popular at the time build-it-yourself home computer Radio 86RK, designed in the Soviet Union, contained a rather mysterious video controller chip КР580ВГ75. It had a high end, feature rich ...
h22's user avatar
  • 413
14 votes
5 answers
3k views

Advantage of RS-232 over 20mA current loop

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VT52 Like other early DEC terminals, the VT50 series were equipped with both an RS-232 port as well as a 20mA current loop, an older serial standard used ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.7k
14 votes
6 answers
4k 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 processes ...
natevw's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
851 views

Interfacing with vintage Canon monitor

I bought a vintage Canon monitor off a friend which I'd like to interface with and use as a cool retro monitor. The problem is that I can't find anything useful about this monitor after days of ...
Koppany Horvath's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
294 views

What happens on a VT102 when you use delete character on a reverse video line?

On a DEC VT102, suppose you have a line where all 80 characters (in particular, the rightmost character) are in reverse video. You then move the cursor to the start of that line and use DCH (ESC [ P) ...
Steve F's user avatar
  • 363
13 votes
1 answer
880 views

What is the prototype of the Eastern Bloc videoterminal Videoton 340?

Several decades ago, the Hungarian company "Videoton" manufactured a videoterminal for which I couldn't find a Western prototype. It likely existed, as the device had been assigned a "ES" number, ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.4k
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

What was the largest resolution supported by terminal escape codes?

Terminal escape codes can be used for various functions such as positioning the cursor or querying the size of the screen. What was the largest resolution (in columns and rows of characters) ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 16.3k
12 votes
5 answers
2k views

What was the most popular CP/M terminal type?

I'm porting CP/M to a new/old machine (the Amstrad NC200 laptop). Running programs on it is no problem, but running interesting programs (i.e. WordStar, Turbo Pascal and Ladder) involves implementing ...
David Given's user avatar
  • 1,320
12 votes
1 answer
932 views

Can anyone help identify this old terminal and printer found in an abandoned nuclear power plant?

I was watching a video on Youtube of some guys exploring an abandoned nuclear power plant(I believe to be in the US or Canada) that was decommissioned around 1991, and noticed this equipment at one ...
Hitek's user avatar
  • 927
12 votes
1 answer
850 views

Can I use the DEC VT220 composite output to connect it to a TV?

I have a DEC VT220 from 1986, it has a composite output. Works great in all its max-19200Kbps monochrome glory. The composite output plug is a BNC, and it looks like BNC-to-RCA composite jack ...
LawrenceC's user avatar
  • 1,209
12 votes
1 answer
834 views

What does bold reverse video look like on a VT100/VT102?

My understanding is that bold text on a VT100/VT102 is more intense than ordinary text; I might say that normal text is 80% grey and bold text is 100% grey=pure white, for the sake of illustration. ...
Steve F's user avatar
  • 363
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why did IBM develop 5250 block mode terminals when 3270 already existed?

IBM introduced the 3270 family of block mode terminals in 1971, for use with IBM mainframes (System/370 and successors). Then, in 1977, IBM introduced the 5250 family of block mode terminals for use ...
Simon Kissane's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
1k views

What did order processing on a teletype look like?

The earliest business data processing systems were based on batch processing of punchcards. Prepare cards off-line, feed a batch of them through the computer. (Why does one so often hear of payroll, ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.7k
11 votes
6 answers
2k views

What happens when a terminal (like a VT100) is connected to a computer?

I'm wondering what's the sequence of actions when a terminal (like a VT100) is plugged into a serial port of a computer? Especially, how the connection of this terminal is detected, and how the ...
weibeld's user avatar
  • 531
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

VT420: How can the five local function keys stop working?

I've got a 1989-issue VT420 terminal I used to use as a secondary console for my Linux machine. After a couple of years, I tried to bring it back to life. After switching it on, the well-known line ...
Neppomuk's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
1 answer
908 views

PET as a terminal

While reading about the SuperPET I just recalled another PET modification. My uni had an 11/780 that I learned FORTRAN on. It used modified PETs as input terminals. This took the form of a modified ...
Maury Markowitz's user avatar
9 votes
9 answers
5k views

Why did the VT100 terminal have to be connected to a host computer if it already had a processor?

The VT100 terminal already had an 8080 processor. So why did it have to be connected to a host computer? Why not use its processor to perform computations? Is it because the VT100 processor's purpose ...
Noob_Guy's user avatar
  • 693
9 votes
2 answers
423 views

Information about Sabre-ADS Model 757 terminal

Someone on reddit acquired a Sabre-ADS terminal, Model 757. They were used for airline reservation and probably connected to an IBM mainframe. Is there anything known about the pinout and workings of ...
dirkt's user avatar
  • 28.2k
8 votes
7 answers
3k views

What was the first OS with the type-ahead capability from a dumb terminal?

In a command-line environment of a contemporary Unix-like system, it is possible to "type ahead", that is, for example, to start a process which runs for a while and does not require any ...
Leo B.'s user avatar
  • 19.4k
8 votes
2 answers
6k views

In this movie I see a strange cable for terminal connection, what kind of connection is this?

In the movie Fantozzi va in pensione (1988) I see a strange cable for terminal connection, what kind of connection is this? seems a scsi cable, but I know the terminal is Ampex 220 and as I know ...
elbarna's user avatar
  • 2,341
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

How were terminals connected to a PDP-11 computer?

This is how I think terminals were connected to a PDP-11 computer: A PDP-11 computer had only one port that you can connect the console terminal (/dev/console) to, and if you want to connect more ...
user7681202's user avatar
  • 1,857
8 votes
2 answers
304 views

Why was the VT05 resolution 72×20?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VT05 the VT05 presented the user with an upper-case only ASCII character display of 20 rows by 72 columns. At first glance this seems a reasonably natural ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.7k
7 votes
5 answers
991 views

When did smart terminals arrive?

In the days of mainframes and minicomputers, a common user interface was a serial terminal where each keystroke was sent to the computer, which could respond with an update to the contents of the ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 62.7k
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Sending video to Telerate 9" Green Monitor [closed]

I found an old Telerate green monitor at a thrift store and figured I could run my computer output through an HDMI -> AV converter with no problem, or a Raspberry Pi composite output signal. Turns ...
bitterlake's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
504 views

Could Teletype Model 33 ASR console work on a desktop, without the dedicated stand?

Definitely, the earlier teleprinters, like Model 15 and even earlier could be put on a table. But for some reason the fashion shifted and most hard-copy terminals in the 1960s and 1970s used a special ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 1,547
7 votes
3 answers
979 views

Did any computer systems connect "terminals" using "broadcast"-style RF to multiplex video, and some other means of multiplexing keyboards?

Rendering a screen full of text as a video signal required a substantial amount of circuitry, especially in the era before LSI semiconductors. A device to generate display signals for a moderate ...
supercat's user avatar
  • 37.2k
7 votes
2 answers
835 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 ...
user7681202's user avatar
  • 1,857
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What 1970's terminal was black on white and had an orange keyboard?

In high school, I programmed on a terminal that was retro THEN, and I need help remembering make and model. White screen, black text (seemed very unusual to me), no lowercase, 24x80, and I have this ...
TZFan's user avatar
  • 413
7 votes
2 answers
789 views

How to setup a teletype to a unix shell

So, recently I've been researching old tech because I want to write some fiction about some typewriter that can access the command line(yep) that shows up in many youtube videos like This one. I want ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
336 views

Was there ever a monospace display system (eg terminal) that used a vertical cursor?

Related to my earlier question about IBM PC cursors, I am now wondering if there has ever been a monospaced character display system (such as a terminal) that would've implemented a vertical cursor in ...
tuomas's user avatar
  • 2,793
7 votes
2 answers
411 views

Which historical Unixes supported terminal I/O with five or six bits per character, and with what character sets?

The specification for termios.h includes a facility for controlling the number of bits per character sent over the serial line, the CSIZE and CSn constants. You can request five, six, seven, or eight ...
zwol's user avatar
  • 449
7 votes
1 answer
506 views

Does the TELCOM program on the Tandy Model 100 support any Unix terminal–like control codes?

I've been connecting my Tandy Model 100 to a serial port on a Linux box via the TELCOM program with some success. The main downside is that in whatever the default terminfo/$TERM setting it gets, a ...
natevw's user avatar
  • 2,947
7 votes
0 answers
239 views

Small format X terminal with EL screen

I remember an ad for a small-format (about as wide as a 60% keyboard) dark-ish grey colored X terminal that had a 12" (?) yellow electroluminescent screen similar to the Grid laptops but higher ...
rbanffy's user avatar
  • 543