Edlin

Infobox Software
name = Edlin
author = Tim Paterson
developer = Microsoft
operating system = DOS, MS-DOS, OS/2, Microsoft Windows
genre = Line editor
website = [http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver/en/library/720e8e05-72bd-4331-be76-943f7a2ba1a81033.mspx?mfr=true Edlin]

Edlin is a line editor included with MS-DOS and later Microsoft operating systems. It provides rudimentary capabilities for editing plain text files through a command-driven interface. Line numbers are specified using numerals, and operations are specified using single-character alphabetic commands (e.g. "5d" instructs the program to delete the 5th line of the file).

It was the only text editor provided with MS-DOS before version 5.0 of that system, when it was superseded by the full screen MS-DOS Editor. It was removed in version 6. However, Edlin is included in 32-bit versions of Windows NT since NTVDM's DOS support is based on MS-DOS version 5.0. Unlike most other external DOS commands, it has not been transformed into a native, Win32 program. Its persistence can probably be explained by the fact that it can be invoked to automatically perform small modifications on text files, by piping a script of commands to it through standard input.

MS-DOS actually did contain another visual editor: GW-BASIC, Microsoft BASIC's interpreter and development environment. Unsurprisingly, the EDIT editor in MS-DOS versions 5.0 till 6.22 actually invoked QBasic, which over time replaced GW-BASIC and had a more modern user interface.

Edlin was created by Tim Paterson in two weeks in 1980, and was expected to have a six-month shelf life. [ [http://www.patersontech.com/Dos/Byte/History.html A Short History of MS-DOS] ] Edlin was actually originally written for Seattle Computer Products's 86-DOS (QDOS), which Microsoft acquired and sold as MS-DOS.

Use of Microsoft's Edlin in today's environments is somewhat limited as it does not support long filenames. For example, attempting to edit an existing file named "longfilename.txt" results in Microsoft's Edlin creating a new file named "longfile.txt". This is related to limitations of the MS-DOS operating system prior to version 7.0 and not Microsoft's Edlin "per se"; long file names were added to MS-DOS and MS-Windows long after Microsoft's Edlin was written.

Gregory Pietsch has written a GPL-licenced clone of Edlin that includes long filename support. The clone is available for download as part of the FreeDOS project, and runs on operating systems such as Linux or Unix as well as MS-DOS. The clone's outputted messages can also be customized for a variety of European languages or Japanese and can be compiled with a variety of C compilers. [ [http://sourceforge.net/projects/freedos-edlin FreeDOS Edlin 2.10] ]

Although seldom used in modern times, Edlin may sometimes be used as an Edlin-script interpreter, in environments where no other editors exist. Scripts may look like Edlin command sequences and they may be run as:

edlin < script

ee also

*List of DOS commands
*ed, the Unix equivalent

References

External links

* [http://www.computerhope.com/edlin.htm MS-DOS edlin command help]
* [http://nxdos.sourceforge.net/DOSHIST.HTM A Brief History Of DOS]


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