Rob Austein (SRA@XX.LCS.MIT.EDU)
Thu, 3 Nov 1988 19:22 EST

    Date: Tuesday, 1 November 1988 18:01-EST
    From: mcc@ETN-WLV.EATON.COM (Merton Campbell Crockett)

    Thanks to everyone who responded and informed me the function of
    ^O; however, the question was more specifically "why?". In a
    rhetorical vein, why does EMACS, in general, use standard control
    characters as application dependent function characters? Why
    would any application?

Ancient history, mostly.

Keep in mind that the original EMACS was a set of TECO macros (hence
the name Editor MACroS) on the MIT Incompatible Timesharing System.
ITS has a long tradition of doing nonstandard things with control
characters, eg, to most ITS programs other than EMACS (which has so
many commands that RMS had to use every possible key combination):

    ^C = EOF;
    ^D = Discard (punt the line currently being entered);
    ^S = Shutup (stop tty output);
    ^Q = Quote (quote the next character).

You expect conformity on a system where the command processor is a
souped-up assembly language debugger?


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