[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Sun Sep 15 17:46:45 AEST 2019


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

> AS for authoring DocBook I was depending on GNU Emacs to do a lot of the 
> heavy XML stuff for me.  Wishful thinking perhaps.

Possibly. I use gvim. :-)  And, no, I won't start _that_ discussion.
To each his own, live and let live.

> > I have written books in troff, DocBook
> > and Texinfo.  Texinfo is *by far* the superior markup language.
> I've had a feeling that Texinfo has been getting brushed to the side.

It is actively maintained and developed.

> Are you suggesting that Info is a good as a rendered documentation 
> format?  Or just that Texinfo is good for proto-documents that are to be 
> authored in a parseable and meaningful format?

The latter.

> Moreover it was (is?) very difficult to generate good contents and index 
> pages with the official tools that I used at the time.

For _printed_ matter, the current texinfo does fine at table of
contents.  The upcoming version of texinfo (in prerelease now) has
new indexing capabilities that bring it on par with what you see
in commercial publishing: multilevel indexing, as well as "see" and
"see also" entries.

I agree that Info isn't lovely; I prefer to read the generated HTML
from makeinfo, or the PDF from texi2pdf.

> I have read the Texinfo documentation and I agree that it seemed like a 
> rich markup language.

Much of the growth in the markup language has been at my urging
over the years. :-)

> *I haven't really looked at eqn beyond browsing docs and I'm not sure 
> how much I should expect from it.*

eqn is the inspiration for math mode in TeX.  That's very clear,
and Knuth was also aware of tbl.

> > My own wish for the next genie in a lamp that I come across would be
> > for a texinfo --> troff translator.
> Have you looked at Pandoc?  I don't know if it will do this but it's 
> worth checking out.

Thanks for that pointer. I'll have to take a look at it.


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