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This single issue is the main reason I hate Unix!

From: Francois Choquette
Subject: This single issue is the main reason I hate Unix!
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 10:50:02 +0200


Believe it or not but I've been using Unix and variants for 15 years and I
can never get my BACKSPACE key to work!

I'm not a programmer but a EE and occasionally have to do software.   I like
PC's with Windows because they're easy to use.  Sometimes I have to use Unix
but I don't particularly enjoy the experience.  Typically I use a terminal
program to connect to Unix. In this case I use Exceed to log into Linux and
open up an Xterm.

Invariably in this situation the stupid BACKSPACE key doesn't work!  This
has happened to me several times on different jobs using different equipment
on both ends.  I then have to look for a super geek to solve the problem.

Here's what happens when I press the BACKSPACE key:   ~~~~~~~

I tried to solve the problem myself by reading the section on tty's in
O'Reilly Unix Power Tools book section 6.09 "Setting you Erase, Kill, and
Interrupt Characters" to no avail.  They say type: "stty erase ^h".   I
tried this many different ways and in my .cshrc file and it still doesn't

address@hidden ~]$ stty erase ~
stty: invalid integer argument `/home/francois'

Try `stty --help' for more information.
address@hidden ~]$ stty --help | more

Of course like most Unix man pages the stuff is completely unreadable and
there's isn't a single mention of ~

I really don't know why I get these Tildas but it's definitely not what I

I asked around 4-5 other engineers in the office and nobody can help me. The
Exceed saleman could not figure it out either. Are we all idiots?

The real issue is:  How do you guys expect Unix/Linux on desktops for use by
a wide range of people if we can't even get the BACKSPACE key to work?  Why
is it that the man pages are impossible to read and almost never include
examples.  Same for "info".  When are you guys going to figure out that PC's
running Windows are everywhere and things will remain that way until you
make your stuff easier to use?  Why are there so many shells and why can't
you guys agree on a good one?  How can you guys resolve this issue

Sorry for my attitude, but I have spent several hours on this problem and
I'm really sick of it.



Francois CHOQUETTE                   Desk phone:     +32 (0) 16 300 806
GPS Analyst                              Main phone:     +32 (0) 16 300 800
Willemsstraat 7,                     Fax:            +32 (0) 16 221 640
B-3000 Leuven                        E-mail: address@hidden
Belgium                              Web:     http://www.septentrio.com

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