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[Lynx-dev] The ^Xe Puzzle: How do (or did) Lynx users on OpenVMS open ex

From: Guy Broome
Subject: [Lynx-dev] The ^Xe Puzzle: How do (or did) Lynx users on OpenVMS open external editors for form fields?
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:19:05 -0400

Good afternoon, Lynx gurus.

I'm an OpenVMS hobbyist, also known as a glutton for punishment, with a small VAXcluster.  Occasionally I take it upon myself to get more recent open-source software compiled and running on OpenVMS VAX or Alpha, than what is commonly available in the derelict VMS freeware archives.  Lynx is the latest such project.

The last Lynx build for VMS VAX that I could find online is 2.8.6dev.8, which is circa 2006, and was not built with SSL support.  As of yesterday, I got Lynx 2.8.8rel.2 compiled and working with SSL, BZip2, and Zlib against the VMS TCPIP stack on OVMS VAX 7.3 using DECC.  Only a small amount of modification was needed.  So far, it works well, with one frustrating exception...

How on earth did VMS Lynx users get ^Xe (Ctrl-x e) entered to jump into an external editor from form fields?  I've got an external editor defined in the .lynxrc just as I would on *nix, but the OpenVMS terminal I/O stack treats Ctrl-X specially (basically it means clear the last line of input and wipe the screen).  As far I can tell, ^Xe never makes it to Lynx itself.  I've tried all of the following, to no avail, to get ^Xe (Ctrl-x e) to work on Lynx on various OpenVMS versions:

To ensure that this wasn't a regression with 2.8.8, I also tested with the "found online" 2.8.6dev.8 versions for VAX and Alpha, and got the same results.  I've also done the obligatory searching through the in-tree documentation, the lynx-dev ML archives, and various VMS forums, to no avail.

Would any of you be kind enough to dig through your memories to try and recall how OpenVMS Lynx users jumped into an external editor, that is, how they got ^Xe to work?  From what  I've seen, it looks like Lynx on VMS has seen at least 20 years of use.  Surely somebody else has attempted to use an external editor in that time.

Thanks in advance for any help that you can offer.

For reference:

--Guy M. Broome

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