[TUHS] [groff] Brian Kernighan on the evoution of eqn, pic, grap into troff

George Michaelson ggm at algebras.org
Tue May 8 10:29:47 AEST 2018

I always envied people who had invested the time to understand
tex/latex. It felt like sitting next to senior wranglers in the maths
department, or the students heading to the civil service exams. What a
luxury: to learn how to apply cubic splines and bezier curves to
design ligatures, in the least possible instructions using a special
stack machine you designed to represent the ideal code, if you had a
computer to run it, bearing in mind that because *aesthetically* you
wanted your "o" to be slightly wider at the bottom than the top, you
had to wrangle a function in, to decide how to do that adjustment in a
non-linear manner given the scaling effects of applying the golden
mean to the design.

wait.. what were we doing again? Typesetting our theses? I can use -ms
for that. If I want the left margin in one inch, I say 1in. Who really
cares if the printer doesn't know whan an EM is?

T/roff might have been disgusting, but so was RUNOFF which I was
familiar with. So this is the classic "you can have it perfect, or
have it next tuesday" moment, which I believe was J Pierpoint Morgan,
who was in Zork, on the zorkmid, so I know it was a "thing".

Mind you, slitex was pretty good. I kind of wish I'd learned that.

Now, desperately trying to get papers into ACM and IEEE, I find myself
leaning on my elders, betters, and wisers, to understand which
\relax{} to do, and why. Its all greek to me.

On Sun, May 6, 2018 at 1:36 PM, Steve Nickolas <usotsuki at buric.co> wrote:
> On Sat, 5 May 2018, Doug McIlroy wrote:
>>> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TeX#Pronunciation_and_spelling
>> Yes, TeX is supposed to be pronounced as Germans do Bach. And
>> Knuth further recommends that the name be typeset as a logo with
>> one letter off the base line. Damned if an awful lot of people,
>> especially LaTeX users, don't follow his advice. I've known
>> and admired Knuth for over 50 years, but part ways with him
>> on this. If you use the ready-made LaTeX logo in running text,
>> so should you also use flourished cursive for Coca-Cola and
>> Ford; and back in the day, discordantly slanted letters for
>> Holiday Inn. It's mad and it's a pox on the page.
>> Doug
> TeX drives me up a damn wall sometimes.  It certainly is better suited than,
> say, LibreOffice or M$ Word for what I do with it, but I still frequently
> find myself butting heads with it.
> -uso.

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