[TUHS] earliest Unix roff

Larry McVoy lm at mcvoy.com
Tue Sep 17 02:45:02 AEST 2019

On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 12:31:13PM -0400, Richard Salz wrote:
> I don't think it's totally GNU's fault that it became Linux.  They weren't
> trying to be tourists in Rome, they were trying to create a new city of
> their own.

Yeah, except they didn't create their own city, they pooped all over a
different one.  There is no defense for what they did.  If they did the
right thing they would have created a markup language that could have
produced info files and man files.

It's not that hard, I wrote something called webroff that took -ms
format input and produced a website complete with the navigation tree,
it defaulted to showing you a page (each .NH) at time but it also had
a site map where you could see the entire document as a single page,
or each major section (.NH 1) as a page.

For more than a decade this was BitMover's home page.  I can't tell
you how many sales calls I've been on and I've seen the entire web
site printed out on the manager's desk.

The reality is there was absolutely no need for a new format for
info files, they could have parsed man input and produced info 
files and that's what they should have done.

Those who defend the choice of info over man just aren't real Unix
people.  And that's fine, Unix isn't the only choice, they can go
run some other OS and be happy.  But it's just rude to thrust info
into a Unix system.  And lame because they could have parsed man
pages into info docs and then they are adopting the Unix way of
doing things and actually adding value.

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