Classic legacy software gets renovations

Some parts of the legacy computing experience feel like gravity. These are things that are essential, and they often feel like they’ve been in the ecosystem since the beginning.

EDT is one of those things in the OpenVMS user experience. It’s the interactive text editor for OpenVMS. Its notable features include three modes (line, keypad, and no keypad). The modes enable it to for use on hardcopy terminals, recovery journaling, startup command files, and macros.

EDT is the only editor that works when booting minimal. Now it’s getting a new feature, thanks to VMS Software Inc. That is the foundation for all VMS work from now on. HP’s OpenVMS lab work is now in Nashua.

“I do not remember when I last time saw an EDT patch released,” says Jan-Erik Söderholm on the comp.os.vms group. A lively discussion lives on the group’s listings.

“From the description of the patch, I can just quote this part. ‘The screen is no longer a hard-coded 24 line terminal window. The actual terminal page size is used, and large-format virtual terminals now use the full page size for editing.’ ”

VSI has turned the new feature into a patch, rather than releasing it in the next version of OpenVMS. “There is an actual bug fixed, having to do with the display of certain 8-bit characters,” says Robert Brooks. “Given that it was common source between the PDP 11s and VMS, the fix would work on the 11s.”

This isn’t a piece of old and moldy code, seldom in use. EDT is a little like EDITOR on the HP 3000. Built into those MPE servers from the beginning it is always available. “I find EDT to be an outstanding editor under RSTS/E using Putty as a terminal,” says Bill Gunshannon.  “All the keypad stuff works, and it even does the 132 Character Mode.”

“I’ve spent years of my life in EDT,” adds Phillip Helbig. “Good that I can spend the rest of my life there. I guess that most people who have used it know only the very basic stuff about it. But it is powerful, has few bugs, and is fast.”

Image by ElasticComputeFarm from Pixabay

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