[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

Jon Steinhart jon at fourwinds.com
Mon Sep 16 05:31:53 AEST 2019

Clem Cole writes:
> Excellent - thanks for the pointer.   This shows nroff before troff.
>  FWIW: I guess I was miss informed, but I had been under the impression
> that was the other way around.  i.e. nroff was done to be compliant with
> the new troff, replacing roff, although the suggestion here is that he
> wrote it add macros to roff.  I'll note that either way, the dates are all
> possible of course because the U/L case ASR 37 was introduced 1968 so by
> the early 1970's they would have been around the labs.

Yes, we had ASR 37s, used one myself.  Not only did the do upper and lower
case, but they also did Greek and math characters, had bracket building
characters, and so on.  Biggest problem was line noise since these were
mostly on dial-up.  One could be having a nice day and all of a sudden a
burst of line noise would trigger a shift-out and everything would be

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