[TUHS] Who used *ROFF?

Lyndon Nerenberg lyndon at orthanc.ca
Sat May 12 12:00:28 AEST 2018

> On May 11, 2018, at 6:40 PM, Nemo <cym224 at gmail.com> wrote:
> It would also be interesting to learn how
> the writers were taught *roff, what editors were used, and what they
> thought.  (I recall that the secretaries, as they were then called, in
> the math dep't used vi to compose plain TeX documents and xdvi to
> proofread them.)

The original AT&T patents work would have pre-dated vi and TeX, so they would have been using ed and [nt]roff I would guess.  The BSTJ is probably a good starting point for the early history.

In the mid-late 1980s I helped deploy UNIX into a court reporting company that had been using Convergent Ngen workstations to edit and proof court transcripts.  Within a couple of months we had the court reporters trained up on vi, spell, troff, etc.  They would upload their tapes from the steno machine to the UNIX server, edit and proof the documents, then typeset the results to a Postscript printer.  Those masters would then be duplicated and sent out to the customers.

Of the dozen or so reporters working there, at least three or four wrote their own troff macro packages, along with an assortment of awk scripts to help catch errors in the transcript source documents.

Today, when I hear people bitch about not having Word on their desktop, I just laugh ;-)


More information about the TUHS mailing list