[TUHS] man Macro Package and pdfmark

Greg A. Woods woods at robohack.ca
Tue Feb 18 17:40:03 AEST 2020

At Mon, 17 Feb 2020 16:17:18 -0800, Jon Steinhart <jon at fourwinds.com> wrote:
Subject: Re: [TUHS] man Macro Package and pdfmark
> That's my beef with texinfo; there was already
> an existing functional system and rather than making some improvements a new
> incompatible universe was created.

Actually there wasn't a truly functional documentation system at the
time -- or at least it didn't reach far enough.

I.e. there was no open-source [nt]roff compatible program at the time,
and the mainly available proprietary one produced (for quality printing
purposes) only very convoluted hard-coded output for a quite esoteric
and rare piece of equipment.  AT&T's public attempt to solve this
(ditroff) just added more cost and arguably less availability.

Groff didn't arrive until 1990, and as remarkable as it was, it was
unfortunately written in C++ (which dissuaded many for a long time).

(Henry Spencer's "awf" (nroff in Awk) also came out in 1990, but besides
being also too late it was more of a toy; and Chris Lewis' PSroff, also
from just before 1990, only solved part of the problem.)

Texinfo was a legitimate attempt to solve the problem of missing tools,
and at the same time and tried (whether in vain or not) to improve on
what were rather widely believed to be major technical and cultural and
availability deficiencies in existing tools.

Personally I still mostly use Lout these days.  :-)

					Greg A. Woods <gwoods at acm.org>

Kelowna, BC     +1 250 762-7675           RoboHack <woods at robohack.ca>
Planix, Inc. <woods at planix.com>     Avoncote Farms <woods at avoncote.ca>
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