[TUHS] Reconstructed and newly set UNIX Manual

Clem Cole clemc at ccc.com
Sun Oct 28 01:53:20 AEST 2018

> Now it could be that v7 troff is perfectly capable of generating the
> manual just like older troff would have.

Angelo - If you worried about the 'look' of a page, I think the thing to be
more worried about is the differences in very early troff is the definition
of the CAT typesetter and how it maps what you have now (PostScript).
 Programs like vcat and later pscat, that were built by reverse engineering
the output of troff and then did a sort of crude mapping to the raster
fonts that were publically available.

At the time, the primary fonts kicking around (the Arpanet) were the Hershey
Fonts <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hershey_fonts> (which were vector
fonts for CRTs).  I'm fairly sure that Les Earnest and Larry Tessler used
them with a film recorder at Stanford on the PDP-10 being driven by "Pub"
(which was a contemporary to troff and ran on the PDP-10s).   Rich Johnsson
of CMU wrote the code for the original XGP* (at 200 dpi) and I'm not sure
who did the translation from vectors to bits although Chuck Geschke (Wulf’s
first PhD student @ CMU, founder of Adobe) I think had his hand in it **

The original UNIX 'plotter' emulator for troff (the vcat family of UNIX
tools originally done by Tom Ferin at UCSF IIRC) used the Hershey fonts
that came from the XGP work from the PDP-10.   This worked and as users, we
were pretty happy because most of us did not have access to real
typesetters, much less something as cool at the XGP.   But the fonts were
'ugly' in comparison to future ideas like Metafont an PS, where as, Adobe's
pscat was using a more precise definition.

That said, in those days my eye was not trained enough to see a many of the
differences.   But some production oriented folks (like Tim O'Reilly) used
to complain that is the AT&T output (CAT4) was different from what the
Imagen*** produced [which was the first large scale 'laser printer'
replacement after the Bensen Varian (/dev/va) and other 'wet' plotters].


* In '64 Xerox invented 'long distance xerography' (LDX) - which was a FAX
system that used a monochrome CRT to draw a single line of pixels on a
xerographic 'drum.'   Xerox loaned/gave one to CMU, Stanford and MIT in
'72.   CMU spliced on to a PDP-11 and had it running my March '72 [BTW, I
recently found pictures of the original toilet paper diploma printing hack
using it].  Stanford and MIT duplicated the CMU trick, with Stanford's XGP
coming online Jan '73 and MIT sometime thereafter].

**Great historical side story - Chuck Geschke filed the first PhD printed
on XGP (at CMU) and it was originally rejected because the CMU library
wanted the 'originals.'   It took Wulf 6-9 months to convince the
administration there were no other 'masters' - the library had the

***We had a early Imagen at Masscomp, Tim duplicated our set up in
Cambridge shortly there after.   In fact, I know Tim ended buying a CAT/4
early on in ORA's life (used IIRC) -- which I think the first used to set
the X-11 manuals, which of course what what 'made' ORA.
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