[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

arnold at skeeve.com arnold at skeeve.com
Mon Sep 16 16:20:46 AEST 2019

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

> This is fascinating insider information, and it leads me full circle to 
> several reasons why I want to try to use *roff in the first place:
> 1.  Do you think there is any chance of obtaining these macro packages? 
> Either from authors who haven't passed away, or from the publishing 
> houses themselves?

O'Reilly probably would. I can ask someone there, if there's serious
interest here.  They haven't used troff for book production for well
over a decade.

I'm not sure that Prentice-Hall had its own macros. Rather, the
books from Bell Labs were all set on the same research Unix systems.

> 2.  I get the impression that writing a macro package or editing an 
> existing is relatively straightforward.  Would you agree?

Possibly straightforward, but very much like working in assembly
language.  The commands and escape sequences (in standard troff) are
all very short, and thus cryptic, and the extra levels of backslashes
needed inside macro bodies don't help.

GNU troff has additional features that probably help a lot; my experience
has been in grunging around in traditional packages.

My two cents,


More information about the TUHS mailing list