Subject: Re: window(1)
To: Richard Rauch <>
From: Chris Wareham <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 01/29/2003 17:22:35
Richard Rauch wrote:
> We have a program called window that ships with the base system.
> I learned about it and used it before I set up X for the first
> time, so I have a bit of nostalgia for it.  (^&

I'd never seen it before, but your post piqued my interest. A quick
read of the man page, followed by logging into my VaxStation to
try it out, and now I'm a big fan!

> The window sources seem to be fairly stagnant.  I think that this
> is for several reasons, probably including:
>  * Perhaps X is more pervasive (more memory, faster CPU's, cheaper
>    graphics hardware, and perhaps better support on existing ports).
>  * wscons does virtual consoles.  (And it looks like someone
>    has finally committed a scrollback-buffer to wscons in the
>    mainline -current.)

I could be wrong, but the Sparc and Vax ports don't seem to do wscons,
while running numerous xterms on older machines can be s-l-o-w. Apart
from older hardware, window gives me the only thing I envy emacs
users for - split screens showing different buffers. Running several
vi sessions and a sh in one xterm means I can even cut and paste between
them. Neat.

>  * GNU screen is in pkgsrc and does most/all of the things that
>    window does, and some things that window doesn't (or does them
>    better---e.g., it emulates a VT100-like terminal so you can
>    run screen, ssh out to another box, and set TERM to something
>    that will almost certainly work).
>    (GNU EMACS also provides a lot of comparable functionality
>    if you create split windows and run shell processes...)

Similar functionality, but GNU screen and Emacs don't come with the
base system. And there still seems to be a healthy number of people
who loathe Emacs, myself included. Vim is a reasonable alternative,
but isn't as flexible as window appears to be - it follows that great
Unix tradition of creating small tools can interact with others for
extra functionality.

-- (work) (home)