[ih] Re: This history of "talk"

David L. Mills mills at udel.edu
Thu Dec 19 14:34:07 PST 2002


Add Dartmouth BASIC to your list. That on a GE 635 circa 1962(?) via
real Teletype 33ASR and Western Union TELEX(!). Of course, this system
and maybe some others you cite was a centralized timesharing system and
not designed to operate in a network with users on other machines.


Bob Braden wrote:
> I believe that the "talk" program was one instantiation of the
> notion of "linking" users.  Well, the original term was "linking
> teletypes".  I suspect that every designer of an early timesharing
> system (re-?)invented this concept.  Once you have a mechanism to
> pass typed characters to and from a user's teletype, it is obvious
> that you can use this as an inter-user communication mechanism,
> "linking" two user's erminals.
> This is a long time ago and I am a bit fuzzy, but I think I first saw
> the linkiong concept on John McCarthy's PDP/1 (?) time sharing system
> when I went to work at Stanford in 1966.  It was certainly present in
> Englebart's NLS system in the mid 1970s, and I believe it existed in
> the ITS and Multics system, probably in the mid 1960s.
> As soon as you had teletype connectivity across the ARPAnet, it
> was obvious that you could just as easily link across the network.
> I believe this was a feature of Tenex, probably of TOPS 10 and
> TOPS 20.  And I even implemented it on an IBM mainframe... ;-)
> Bob Braden

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