RE: A basic question on encoding Latin characters

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Sun Oct 03 1999 - 13:40:23 EDT

> Which protocols defined in some standard or by some vital piece of
> software use prompts without terminators?
Every timesharing computer that has been used since the advent of
timesharing in the 1960s, including even the most modern versions of UNIX,
VMS, VOS, and so on, in which every session goes like this (prompts can

  login: <type your user id>
  Password: <type your password>

  (some greetings are printed)

and then the following sequence:

  <shell-or-CLI-prompt> <type a command>
  (response is shown)

is repeated until logout.

And then any command in this sequence can start an application that follows
the same model:

  <application-prompt> <type a command>

  (response is shown)

which is repeated until the user exits from the application. Of course
desktop environments such as DOS follow the same model, except without
the login/password dialog.

It's not a question of standards; it's a culture and style that has evolved
"in the marketplace of ideas" over decades and encompasses a vast array of
existing software.

Perhaps the designers of these systems lacked foresight, but their users
are not going to discard them. Until the advent of the GUI, this was the
predominent model for human-computer interaction. And even today, fifteen
years (or more) into the GUI era, it still has its attractions. I'll be
glad to list them if asked.

- Frank

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