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* Re: [TUHS] Demise of TeX and groff (was: roff(7))
@ 2022-01-11 22:02 Douglas McIlroy
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 32+ messages in thread
From: Douglas McIlroy @ 2022-01-11 22:02 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

> Later Brian's work was updated after V7 and included some new tools, and became known as Writer's Workbench, which eventually was entered in the 'toolchest.'

WWB wouldn't exist if text had not routinely existed in
machine-readable form, thanks to word-processing. But the impetus for
WWB came from "style", not from troff.

Style was a spinoff of Lorinda Cherry's "parts", which assigned parts
of speech to the words of a document. Style provided a statistical
profile of the text: measures such as average word length: frequency
of passives, adjectives and compound sentences, reading level, etc.
WWB in turn offered writing advice based on such profiles.

Style was stimulated by Bill Vesterman, a professor of English at
Rutgers, who brought the idea to me. I introduced him to Lorinda, who
had it running in a couple of weeks. Then Nina McDonald at USG
conceived and packaged WWB as a distinct product, not just a
collection of entries in man 1.

Wikipedia reports a surmise that WWB sank out of sight because it was
not a standard part of Unix distributions.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 32+ messages in thread
* Re: [TUHS] roff(7)
@ 2021-12-31 15:47 Douglas McIlroy
  2021-12-31 23:07 ` George Michaelson
  0 siblings, 1 reply; 32+ messages in thread
From: Douglas McIlroy @ 2021-12-31 15:47 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: TUHS main list

> Did roff do all of what troff and nroff did?

No way. Ossanna deserves all the praise you give him. Roff extended
runoff in various ways:
     relative numeric operators, e.g. .in +8
     tabbing (left, right and centered)
     tripartite headers and footers
     arabic and roman page numbering
     adjustable head and foot margins
     automatic hyphenation, thanks to Molly Wagner
     merge patterns for change marks, column separators, etc.
     various special requests: .ne, .ti, .tr, .po, .op (odd page)

But roff did NOT have conditionals, traps, special characters,
environments, or arbitrary motion control. Crucially (and ironically,
because I was Mr. Macro), it did not have anything like macros,
strings and diversions until after Joe pioneered them in nroff.

So there was a gaping disparity: nroff was Turing complete, roff
wasn't. Roff merely added features to runoff; nroff leapt into a
different universe.


The features listed above are in the January 1971 manual for BCPL
roff, which is probably the anonymous reference cited in the November
1971 v1 manual. The v1 manual lists Osanna, Ken and Dennis as authors
of the Unix implementation. I believe Ossanna is named because he
added line-numbering--and maybe more--to entice the patent department
to switch to roff.

BCPL roff allowed all four arithmetic operators in contexts like .ls
*3. Only + and - were allowed in nroff. Eventually both BCPL roff and
nroff got number registers (defined by different commands); I don't
recall which came first. BCPL roff also got a weak macro facility,
definitely after nroff.


^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 32+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2022-01-12 16:34 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 32+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2022-01-11 22:02 [TUHS] Demise of TeX and groff (was: roff(7)) Douglas McIlroy
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2021-12-31 15:47 [TUHS] roff(7) Douglas McIlroy
2021-12-31 23:07 ` George Michaelson
2021-12-31 23:40   ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-01  0:56     ` [TUHS] TeX and groff (was: roff(7)) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-01  3:15       ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-10 19:00         ` Blake McBride
2022-01-11  1:59           ` [TUHS] Demise of " Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-11  2:13             ` Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)
2022-01-11  2:42               ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11  5:12                 ` Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-11  5:59                   ` John Labovitz
2022-01-11  8:57                   ` arnold
2022-01-11 20:15                     ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11 20:22                       ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 20:26                         ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11 20:36                           ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 20:41                             ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11 20:49                               ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 21:03                                 ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11  8:50                 ` arnold
2022-01-11 14:00                   ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 15:47                 ` Clem Cole
2022-01-11 16:55                   ` Richard Salz
2022-01-11 18:49                     ` Clem Cole
2022-01-11 19:20                   ` John Cowan
2022-01-11 20:06                     ` Clem Cole
2022-01-11 23:57                       ` Warner Losh
2022-01-12  0:03                         ` Warner Losh
2022-01-12  8:54                       ` arnold
2022-01-12 15:17                         ` Clem Cole
2022-01-12 16:33                         ` Dan Cross
2022-01-12  8:48                   ` arnold
2022-01-12 15:51                     ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-12 15:57                       ` Clem Cole
2022-01-12 15:56                     ` Clem Cole
2022-01-11  3:22               ` Adam Thornton
2022-01-12  0:32             ` Nemo Nusquam

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