man(1) Manual page archive

     8½(1)                                                       8½(1)

          8½, label, window, wloc - window system

          8½ [ -i 'cmd' ] [ -s ] [ font ]

          label name

          window 'minx miny maxx maxy' cmd arg...


          8½ manages asynchronous layers of text, or windows, on a
          bit-mapped display.  It also serves a variety of files for
          communicating with and controlling windows; these are dis-
          cussed in section 8½(4).

          The 8½ command starts a new instance of the window system.
          Its -i option names a startup script, which typically con-
          tains several window commands generated by wloc.

          The -s option initializes windows so that text scrolls; the
          default is not to scroll.  The font argument names a font
          used to display text, both in 8½'s menus and as a default
          for any programs running in its windows; it also establishes
          the environment variable $font.  If -f is not given, 8½ uses
          the imported value of $font if set; otherwise it imports the
          default font from the underlying graphics server, usually
          the terminal's operating system.

          The label command changes a window's identifying name.

          The window command creates a window.  The first argument
          gives the minimum and maximum screen coordinates of the win-
          dow to be created; the rest of the arguments are the command
          to be run in the window and its arguments.

          The wloc command prints the coordinates and label of each
          window in its instance of 8½ and is used to construct argu-
          ments for window.

        Window control
          Each window behaves as a separate terminal with at least one
          process associated with it.  When a window is created, a new
          process (usually a shell; see rc(1)) is established and
          bound to the window as a new process group.  Initially, each
          window acts as a simple terminal that displays character
          text; the standard input and output of its processes are

     8½(1)                                                       8½(1)

          attached to /dev/cons.  Other special files, accessible to
          the processes running in a window, may be used to make the
          window a more general display.  Some of these are mentioned
          here; the complete set is discussed in 8½(4).

          One window is current, and is highlighted with a heavy bor-
          der; characters typed on the keyboard are available in the
          /dev/cons file of the process in the current window.  Char-
          acters written on /dev/cons appear asynchronously in the
          associated window whether or not the window is current.

          Windows are created, deleted and rearranged using the mouse.
          Clicking (depressing and releasing) mouse button 1 in a
          non-current window makes that window current and brings it
          in front of any windows that happen to be overlapping it.
          When the mouse cursor points to the background area or is in
          a window that has not claimed the mouse for its own use,
          depressing mouse button 3 activates a menu of window opera-
          tions provided by 8½. Releasing button 3 then selects an
          operation.  At this point, a gunsight or cross cursor indi-
          cates that an operation is pending.  The button 3 menu oper-
          ations are:

          New      Create a window.  Depress button 3 where one corner
                   of the new rectangle should appear (cross cursor),
                   and move the mouse, while holding down button 3, to
                   the diagonally opposite corner.  Releasing button 3
                   creates the window, and makes it current.  Very
                   small windows may not be created.
          Reshape  Change the size and location of a window.  First
                   click button 3 in the window to be changed (gun-
                   sight cursor).  Then sweep out a window as for the
                   New operation.  The window is made current.
          Move     Move a window to another location.  Depress button
                   3 in one quadrant of the window to be moved (cross
                   cursor), then move the mouse, while holding down
                   button 3, to the place where the indicated
                   quadrant's corner should appear.  The window is
                   made current.
          Delete   Delete a window.  Click in the window to be deleted
                   (gunsight cursor).  Deleting a window causes a
                   `hangup' note to be sent to all processes in the
                   window's process group (see notify(2)).
          Hide     Hide a window.  Click in the window to be hidden
                   (gunsight cursor); it will be moved offscreen.
                   Each hidden window is given a menu entry in the
                   button 3 menu according to the value of the file
                   /dev/label, which 8½ maintains (see 8½(4)).

        Text windows
          Characters typed on the keyboard or written to /dev/cons
          collect in the window to form a long, continuous document.

     8½(1)                                                       8½(1)

          There is always some selected text, a contiguous string
          marked on the screen by reversing its color.  If the
          selected text is a null string, it is indicated by a hair-
          line cursor between two characters.  The selected text may
          be edited by mousing and typing.  Text is selected by point-
          ing and clicking button 1 to make a null-string selection,
          or by pointing, then sweeping with button 1 depressed.  Text
          may also be selected by double-clicking: just inside a
          matched delimiter-pair with one of {[(<«`'" on the left and
          }])>»`'" on the right, it selects all text within the pair;
          at the beginning or end of a line, it selects the line;
          within or at the edge of an alphanumeric word, it selects
          the word.

          Characters typed on the keyboard replace the selected text;
          if this text is not empty, it is placed in a snarf buffer
          common to all windows but distinct from that of sam(1).

          Programs access the text in the window at a single point
          maintained automatically by 8½. The output point is the
          location in the text where the next character written by a
          program to /dev/cons will appear; afterwards, the output
          point is the null string beyond the new character.  The out-
          put point is also the location in the text of the next char-
          acter that will be read (directly from the text in the win-
          dow, not from an intervening buffer) by a program from
          /dev/cons.  When such a read will occur is, however, under
          control of 8½ and the user.

          In general there is text in the window after the output
          point, usually placed there by typing but occasionally by
          the editing operations described below.  A pending read of
          /dev/cons will block until the text after the output point
          contains a newline, whereupon the read may acquire the text,
          up to and including the newline.  After the read, as
          described above, the output point will be at the beginning
          of the next line of text.  In normal circumstances, there-
          fore, typed text is delivered to programs a line at a time.
          Changes made by typing or editing before the text is read
          will be seen by the program reading it.  If the program in
          the window does not read the terminal, for example if it is
          a long-running computation, there may accumulate multiple
          lines of text after the output point; changes made to all
          this text will be seen when the text is eventually read.
          This means, for example, that one may edit out newlines in
          unread text to forestall the associated text being read when
          the program finishes computing.  This behavior is very dif-
          ferent from most systems'.

          Even when there are newlines in the output text, 8½ will not
          honor reads if the window is in hold mode, which is indi-
          cated by a white cursor and border.  The ESC character

     8½(1)                                                       8½(1)

          toggles hold mode.  Some programs, such as mail(1), automat-
          ically turn on hold mode to simplify the editing of multi-
          line text; type ESC when done to allow mail to read the

          An EOT character (control-D) behaves exactly like newline
          except that it is not delivered to a program when read.
          Thus on an empty line an EOT serves to deliver an end-of-
          file indication: the read will return zero characters.  Like
          newlines, unread EOTs may be successfully edited out of the
          text.  The BS character (control-H) erases the character
          before the selected text.  The ETB character (control-W)
          erases any nonalphanumeric characters, then the alphanumeric
          word just before the selected text.  `Alphanumeric' here
          means non-blanks and non-punctuation.  The NAK character
          (control-U) erases the text after the output point, and not
          yet read by a program, but not more than one line.  All
          these characters are typed on the keyboard and hence replace
          the selected text; for example, typing a BS with a word
          selected places the word in the snarf buffer, removes it
          from the screen, and erases the character before the word.

          Text may be moved vertically within the window.  A scroll
          bar on the left of the window shows in its clear portion
          what fragment of the total output text is visible on the
          screen, and in its gray part what is above or below view; it
          measures characters, not lines.  Mousing inside the scroll
          bar moves text: clicking button 1 with the mouse pointing
          inside the scroll bar brings the line at the top of the win-
          dow to the cursor's vertical location; button 3 takes the
          line at the cursor to the top of the window; button 2,
          treating the scroll bar as a ruler, jumps to the indicated
          portion of the stored text.  Also, a VIEW key (possibly with
          a different label; see keyboard(6)) scrolls forward half a

          The DEL character sends an `interrupt' note to all processes
          in the window's process group.  Alone among characters, the
          DEL and VIEW keys do not snarf the selected text.

          Normally written output to a window blocks when the text
          reaches the end of the screen; a button 2 menu item toggles

          Other editing operations are selected from a menu on button
          2.  The cut operation deletes the selected text from the
          screen and puts it in the snarf buffer; snarf copies the
          selected text to the buffer without deleting it; paste
          replaces the selected text with the contents of the buffer;
          and send copies the snarf buffer to just after the output
          point, adding a final newline if missing.  Paste will some-
          times and send will always place text after the output

     8½(1)                                                       8½(1)

          point; the text so placed will behave exactly as described
          above.  Therefore when pasting text containing newlines
          after the output point, it may be prudent to turn on hold
          mode first.

        Raw text windows
          Opening or manipulating certain files served by 8½ sup-
          presses some of the services supplied to ordinary text win-
          dows.  While the file /dev/mouse is open, any mouse opera-
          tions are the responsibility of another program running in
          the window.  Thus, 8½ refrains from maintaining the scroll
          bar, supplying text editing or menus, interpreting the VIEW
          key as a request to scroll, and also turns scrolling on.

          The file /dev/consctl controls interpretation of keyboard
          input.  In particular, a raw mode may be set: in a raw-input
          window, no typed keyboard characters are special, they are
          not echoed to the screen, and all are passed to a program
          immediately upon reading, instead of being gathered into

        Graphics windows
          A program that holds /dev/mouse and /dev/consctl open after
          putting the console in raw mode has complete control of the
          window: it interprets all mouse events, gets all keyboard
          characters, and determines what appears on the screen.

          /lib/font/bit/*   font directories
          /mnt/8½           Files served by 8½ (also unioned in /dev
                            in a window's name space, before the
                            terminal's real /dev files)
          /srv/8½  Server end of 8½.

          8½(4), rc(1), cpu(1), sam(1), mail(1), proof(1),
          graphics(2), frame(2), layer(2), notify(2), cons(3), bit(3),