There was never an "official" expansion of WAITS, but a common variant was "West-coast Alternative to ITS"; another variant was "Worst Acronym Invented for a Timesharing System". The name was endorsed by the SAIL community in a public vote choosing among alternatives. Two of the other contenders were SALTS ("Stanford AI Laboratory Timesharing System") and SINNERS ("Stanford Incompatible Non-New Extensively Rewritten System"), proposed by the systems programmers. Though WAITS was less visible than ITS, there was frequent exchange of people and ideas between the two communities, and innovations pioneered at WAITS exerted enormous indirect influence.
The early screen modes of Emacs, for example, were directly inspired by WAITS' "E" editor -- one of a family of editors that were the first to do real-time editing, in which the editing commands were invisible and where one typed text at the point of insertion/overwriting. The modern style of multi-region windowing is said to have originated there. The system also featured an unusual level of support for what is now called multimedia computing, allowing analog audio and video signals to be switched to programming terminals. Also invented there were "bucky bits" - thus, the "Alt" key on every IBM PC is a WAITS legacy. One WAITS feature very notable in pre-Web days was a news-wire interface that allowed WAITS hackers to read, store, and filter AP and UPI dispatches from their terminals.
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