[TUHS] Scan of "Edition 0" manual

Marc Rochkind rochkind at basepath.com
Wed Dec 9 04:57:05 AEST 2015


Well, maybe CP/M and MS-DOS were less powerful, but you're forgetting that
they had the benefit of 10 years or so of additional evolution. ;-)


On Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 11:20 AM, Doug McIlroy <doug at cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:

> > It might not be so much a set of macros as just using a
> > subset of raw groff.
> Yes, there were no macros back then. If you format the
> document using raw groff, the odds are that you will be
> speaking the same roff that Dennis did.
> >  Doug having been there, might know/remember the actually lineage.
> Aside from some fuzziness about who wrote what and in what
> language, here's what happened:
> To port Jerry Saltzer's Runoff (presumably written in MAD)
> to Multics, either Dennis or Bob Morris or both together
> reimplemented it (presumably in PL/I). To coexist with
> Saltzer's version on CTSS, the new program needed a
> distinct name, hence roff.
> The early Multics PL/I compiler was far from a production
> tool. Justifiably, the Bell Labs comp center didn't
> support it. To get roff into general use at the Labs,
> I undertook yet another implementation in BCPL. I added
> functionality (number registers, three-part headings, etc)
> and kept the new name. Molly Wagner added hyphenation.
> Eventually, I added macros that were usable either as
> commands or (when parameterless) embedded in text.
> Almost as soon as Unix was up on the PDP-11 one of Ken, Dennis
> or Ossanna reimplemented a pre-macro version of roff (presumably
> in assembler or B). I'm quite sure roff never ran on the PDP-7.
> Ossana had a grander plan and undertook nroff. When he learned
> of the availability of the Graphic Systems CAT phototypesetter,
> he promptly generalized nroff to handle it. Joe replaced the
> CAT's paper tape reader with a direct wire to the computer.
> It all worked swimmingly--nothing like the travails when the
> CAT was replaced by the more capable Merganthaler Linotron.
> An interesting question of priority is whether nroff or
> BCPL roff was first to have a macro capability. Though
> I don't remember for sure, the fact that BCPL roff unified
> registers, macros, strings and diversions suggests that
> I abstracted from nroff facilities.
> Doug
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