Subject: Re: delete and backspace...
To: David Forbes <>
From: Gandhi woulda smacked you <>
List: current-users
Date: 08/14/1999 04:11:46
On Sat, 14 Aug 1999, David Forbes wrote:

# > *ALL* PC keyboards I've ever seen, right from the very first original
# > IBM-PC klunker, label the bigger key in the top right corner of the main
# > group "backspace", and I've never found anyone who always pronounces
# > that word as "delete" even though there are an astounding number of
# IIRC, there was a series of computers, highly popular on this side of the
# Atlantic during most of the 80's which didn't have a backspace key and did
# have a DELETE key, located, roughly where backspace is on most PC
# keyboards.  There is a generation of people (my parents included) that had
# their first introduction to computers on these machines and will always
# refer to backspace as DELETE, irrespective of what's on the key.

And this is not to mention the data-entry terminal keyboards such as
the LSI ADM5 (ADM3, ADM3a...) which did have a BACKSPACE key which
was a regularly sized key in the top right corner of the main group,
but there was a double-sized key labeled DELETE directly above the
return key.

I used to love these keyboards until I exited hyperspace into the Real
World and started using an HDS-200, a Sun, a stylized Mac II, a TVI-950
and a z29 and realised that the ADM* keyboards, just like most PC
keyboards, had the control key(s) in the wrong place, too.

The legacy which has put the BACKSPACE key where DELETE now sits
is unfortunate.  As I'm sure has been illustrated, the need to remap
the Erase function in the tty line driver between DEL and BS is one
of the longest standing PsITA.  IIRC, didn't the old (literal) TTYs
have a DELETE KEY ONLY, and you got a BS by holding down CTRL and
pushing 'H'?

...which is another thing that drives me nuts about Windoze apps (not
to mention NutScrape):  Why in blue bloody blazes do they make Ctrl+H
map irrevocably to a different function than Backspace?

Oh, and can I shoot the dipstick who made Ctrl+H default to 'Help' under
EMACS?  The reasons, I hope, are obvious as to why this frustrates me
(and why I rarely use full-blown EMACS).

[I'm one of those weird 80x24 glass TTY types who actually uses Ctrl+H
as BackSpace (and Ctrl+I as TAB) because I know precisely where the
damned Control key is more often than I know where the BackSpace key
is (never used Ctrl+[ for ESC, though, for some reason -- maybe it's
because H and I are more centrally located)...]

I'm sure I'm hitting nails which have already been hit with a large hammer,
but I don't think I've seen the discussion to date -- just bits and pieces.
Apologies if I've said what others have said.

# Cheers,
# David.

NetBSD: We Stay Up.