Adelaide Uni open sources venerable Ludwig editor

38-year-old editor originally developed for VAX systems

The extremely aesthetically pleasing VAX-11/780

The extremely aesthetically pleasing VAX-11/780

Credit: Emiliano Russo | Wikipedia

The University of Adelaide will release the source code of the Ludwig editor, originally developed for use on VAX minicomputers.

Ludwig’ source code will be published on GitHub under the MIT Open Source Licence, the university announced today.

DEC’s first VAX system, the VAX-11/78, was unveiled in 1977. Adelaide Uni purchased three of the minicomputers in 1979.

The computers supported interaction through video terminals and replaced punch-card-driven systems that only offered batch processing and printed output,

The VAX systems supported full-screen editors, but at the time none were available for them, according to the university.

Emeritus Professor Chris Barter along with Wayne Agutter, Bevin Brett and Kelvin Nicolle built Ludwig in time for the 1980 academic year.

“The ability to host 20 to 30 simultaneous users, all editing and developing programs, plus many more users running programs, on a machine boasting a scant 1 million instructions per second and four megabytes of memory, was world beating,” Barter said.

“Ludwig was also easy to learn and use and had significant power – it was taken up by users throughout Australia and worldwide.”

The editor is still being used today, according to the university, and has been the subject of ongoing development under restrictive licences.

It has been ported to Unix, Linux and Windows.

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