[TUHS] [Groff] It is time to modernise "groff"

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Wed Sep 6 13:35:53 AEST 2017


"Steve Johnson" writes:
>   One of the interesting thing that troff lled to in Unix was stderr!  
>   Initially, Unix had stdin and stdout, but no stderr.
>
>   We had a phototypesetter that worked by flashing pictures of the various
>   letters on photosensitive paper.  It came out in a roll that had to be fed
>   into a developer and when it emerged it had to be cut into pages manually.
>     Several months after we got the phototypesetter somebody (The Hunt
>   brothers?) cornered the market for silver, and the cost of the developer
>   shot through the roof.   We were asked to cut back on our use of the
>   phototypesetter, and we tried to do so.
>
>   One day, I was attempting to print out a one-page document.  I ran troff
>   piped into the phototypesetter and got out my roll of paper and fed it into
>   the developer.  Out the other end came a page with only one line on it
>   (beautifully typeset): "cannot open input file xxx"   A number of others
>   had similar experiences, and stderr was born...

Ah, the C/A/T.  Responsible from some of the squirrelly aspects of troff
like font positions.


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