[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Sun Sep 15 16:54:12 AEST 2019

"U'll Be King of the Stars" <ullbeking at andrewnesbit.org> wrote:

> On 14/09/2019 03:44, Warren Toomey wrote:
> > On Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 07:02:40PM -0700, Larry McVoy wrote:
> >> Roff has some pretty sophisticated stuff (environments come to mind) that
> >> I think 99.9% of the CS world doesn't understand
> This thread about *roff echoes something that I have been thinking about 
> recently.
> I've been wondering whether it is possible and worthwhile to use *roff 
> for complex technical documentation.  I've always loved the aesthetic 
> that books produced using *roff have but there are other reasons too.
> As far as _markup_ is concerned we have DocBook for example.  I am also 
> looking into this.  (Also, I understand it's not a typesetting system.)

Unless you use a WYSIWYG tool that generates DocBook, you should avoid it.
Your fingers will kill you.  I have written books in troff, DocBook
and Texinfo.  Texinfo is *by far* the superior markup language.

Using Texinfo can generate DocBook which your publisher can turn into PDF.
(I have done this, three times at least.)  But working directly in
DocBook just plain hurts.

> Getting back to *roff, does anybody know if there is a (hopefully rich) 
> repository of macros, or any other resources, for my use case?  (La)TeX 
> has this but I'd like to try something else.  What do people think?

The MM macros are the most capable of the standard sets that are
out there, although possibly the MOM macros distributed with groff
are even more so; I have not investigated fully.

My own wish for the next genie in a lamp that I come across would be
for a texinfo --> troff translator.


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