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Proposed Enhancement to UNIX

By john.a.wills ·
UNIX has 6 file types: b, c, d, f, p and l. None of these is as convenient for programming as the files used for program entry in IBM MVS, the late Prime 500 PrimOS, Unisys 2200, BS3 on TR440, etc. Let there therefore be a new file type, t for text, with firm line numbering, so that insertions and deletions not impede editing.
Let lp show the line numbers when such a file gets printed.
Let vi show the line numbers when such a file is addressed, and automatically create new line numbers when new lines get entered. There should also be some renumbering facility within vi, and perhaps also in a separate utility. Search in vi should be possible for a range of lines, so that a developer can investigate a single procedure or other unit of interest without being distracted by information about other parts of the file. It might also be nice to be able to list together lines from separate parts of a file without having to wade through the intermediate and surrounding text, say by writing something like 25;300,320.
Let compilers refer to these line numbers, and not those they themselves create, in error messages and listings; let compilers also use these line numbers for cross-reference listings.
Another enhancement would be a command compile, with as first parameter the source file and as second the language (other parameters would obviously be necessary). Compiler manufacturers would be encouraged to write their compilers so as to fit into this command, perhaps by making the compiler name some set expansion of the language name (in BS3, for instance, the name for Fortran was FTN and the name of the executable file containing the Fortran compiler was PS&FTNCOMP; something analogous would be specified for the UNIX command).

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