[TUHS] SunOS 4 documentation

Steffen Nurpmeso steffen at sdaoden.eu
Thu Apr 13 23:41:51 AEST 2017


Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
 |On Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 10:13:33PM -0400, Toby Thain wrote:
 |> On 2017-04-12 7:31 PM, Larry McVoy wrote:
 |>>All done in troff I believe.  Though not for long, I think they switched
 |>>to framemaker around then.
 |>>
 |>>Whoops, I'm wrong, I looked, that's clearly framemaker.  Sigh.  I love me
 |>>some troff, even to this day.  I really really really wish that someone
 |>>had done framemaker, word, whatever, that was the GUI interface that had
 |>>troff under the covers.  Why?  Because you can version control the source
 |> 
 |> You can get really really close to that dream with TeX based tools \
 |> like LyX,
 |> etc (and indeed Blue Sky Research had a wysiwyg TeX system back in \
 |> the late
 |> 1980s).
 |
 |I know, my dad wrote a book with Blue Sky Research's stuff.
 |
 |> While troff can get stuff done in its area, for heavy duty work and \
 |> exacting
 |> typography, TeX's markup blows troff out of the water, I am afraid.
 |
 |I'd like to learn more about that.  I'd done a ton of stuff in troff,
 |had to do a paper recently in LaTex and I did not find it at all better.
 |It was a technical paper, usual stuff, text and tables and figures
 |and references.  I'm not great at LaTex so maybe it's just my bias
 |but I really like troff.  In fairness, I like groff, I got James to hack
 |some stuff into pic for me.  
 |
 |But it started with troff.  I still remember walking out of the computer
 |science bookstore with a copy of the troff manual.  That was sort of my
 |introduction to Unix and it fits.

To me that was the german translation of ISO C, by Prof. Dr. A.-T.
Schreiner and Dr. Ernst Janich, "set in pic (by Kernighan), tbl (by
Lesk), eqn (by Kernighan and Cherry), a XENIC-fit device-
independent troff by ELAN".  Except for being afraid the wonderful
introduction could, possibly and maybe, today have been
collaborated in Google Doc, i also adore roff.

I came via (La, then) TeX and a package i have written myself, and
of which i was very proud, and because i could be.  Unfortunately
this has been lost, in major parts.  I came to roff myself because
of this apocalypse -- you know, i come from C64, DOS, Windows,
HTML, Javascript and perl, over the German (for me: ex-) magazine
c't to Linux, JAVA, C++, x86 Assembler and then C, which is likely
and maybe unfortunately so completely different to all of you, and
during the JAVA time i bought the TeX book, the c't has had
articles about TeX, quite often so, so i knew about it.  (I tried
lout for a short time, first, but it was not flexible enough.)
Unfortunately roff has had no promoters in Germany at all, in
anything i read.

Roff has weaknesses due to its by-line layout mode, compared to
TeX's by-paragraph and even by-page (visible white) one.  (Note
i have no idea of what happened on the TeX side in the last, say,
about 15 years.  TeXLive has always been too large for me, i have
the KerTeX basics laying around since a few years, just in case
i ever find time to come back to TeX.)  This can be a problem for
quick use cases that do not allow proper reviews and fine-tuning,
the latter sometimes down to the paragraph level, dependent on the
material.  In TeX this can be tuned more easily with conservative
values and looking out for "overfull boxes" (iirc), if such occur
at all, then.

My finding is that, with groff, i can produce papers (mostly
letters) of almost identical beauty with some fine-tuning, with
almost the identical number of "markup" (which is now also easily
typed with the american keyboard).  And the fine-tuning i like,
because i adore the calligraphic as an art, as an act of devotion
of the calligrapher, to some higher spirit or the being as such,
and spending some seconds in some text is my simple Boche
equivalence to those fine spirits.

--steffen


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