[TUHS] TeX/troff/typesetting markups - Re: SunOS 4 documentation

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Apr 16 01:27:49 AEST 2017

On Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 6:24 PM, Toby Thain <toby at telegraphics.com.au>
> No matter how far you tart up the former, Troff and TeX just aren't
> playing the same ballgame.

​Toby - that's a tad inflammatory - at least to my American sensibilities.
Saying one or the other has been "dressed up" (using a derogatory term or
not) is to me the same as the vi/emacs wars or rugby/American Football
argument.   Some people like the taste of one, others do not, and thank
goodness we have choices.   I've used the afore mentioned systems (and
played the games too at a fairly high level in my day); and frankly it is a
matter if taste.  They all have their place.

If you grew up with an affinity for one, you are more likely to find it
more comfortable for your needs.  I find a TeX just as ugly and unreadable
as  the runoff family with troff is a member.   It's just a different view
of beauty.  Frankly, Brian Reid's Scribe on the "Twinex" and VMS was the
"best" document product system I ever really used (for those that do not
know, LaTex was an attempt to bring Scribe-like functions into TeX).    But
as Brian Kernighan points out in his "Page Makeup" paper, even Scribe had
some flaws (it's too bad Scribe seems to have been lost to IP and source
issues - I've often wonder how it would have played out in the modern

Anyway - it fine to say you don't like troff - please feel free to suggest
that you don't think that it can be made to your style/preferences.   But
please don't sling to many insults as the truth is, that troff is still
useful to many people and a lot people do still like it.

In my own case, I'll use TeX if a colleague wants too, but I'm a fair bit
faster with troff than almost any other doc prep system for any document of
almost any size; but particularly when the documents get large such as
book.   But that's me; although I note it is also a lot of other people.
As Brian points out, many of the Pearson and Wiley texts use troff; and of
course you have to note that my old deskmate, Tim O'Reilly founded his
empire on it 😂 (I still have a copy of the his original style manual they
wrote for the Masscomp engineers and doc writers in the mid 80s).
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://minnie.tuhs.org/pipermail/tuhs/attachments/20170415/dde6c3b1/attachment.html>

More information about the TUHS mailing list