Unix witticisms

George Michaelson ggm at algebras.org
Sat Oct 7 12:40:00 AEST 2017

Mike Lesk told me, (so this is now officially apocryphal because its
friend-of-a-friend) that TBL had stuff in there, to specifically
address a faulty throw-back action in the linotronic output device,
and thats why troff/tbl output on more modern things like the wet
process benson varian printer we had, drew some of the lines out of
whack: it was adjusting for another typesetters mechanical positioning

I'd love to know if this is true. I did look under the hood at T/Roff
and it was indescribably weirder than I imagined. I thought the macros
were weird, then I discovered what the expanded to.

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 7:33 PM, Ron Natalie <ron at ronnatalie.com> wrote:
> "Roff is the simplest of the run off programs but is utterly frozen " appeared in the V6 man pages.
> This led to a whole slew (at least at JHU) comments in program documents about being "utterly frozen."
> The large freshman "Models and Simulation" class used basic plus and a special command called "lnmns" was created to link the necessary files into the user's home dir.
> Our docs said that "lnmns was the simplenst of the transcendental programs but is utterly frozen."
> For those who know nroff/troff, we had fun in that our senior programmer "Michael John Muuss" wrote a macro package called tmac.jm which was invoked with nroff -mjm (his initials).
> This lead to all kinds of jokes including calling lnmns "bill" after its programmers.
> Many years later there was a proposal to rename the concept of freeware "Flugelware" after some guy named "Flugel" who alledgedly came up with the idea.
> I suggested that we call the C compiler "Ritchie" after its creator.    I got an immediate reponse from dmr telling me to nip that idea in the bud.

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