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From: George Michaelson <ggm@algebras.org>
To: Douglas McIlroy <douglas.mcilroy@dartmouth.edu>
Cc: TUHS main list <tuhs@minnie.tuhs.org>
Subject: Re: [TUHS] roff(7)
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2022 09:07:49 +1000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <CAKr6gn3bZ2Ac99gTknNRd8CVMAQB0+ArbtYCU9OOdOeLJvw-iA@mail.gmail.com> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <CAKH6PiX6bfsSw+N2zABfwuA8+cW_haiYh6bQzefMjnqTWJ8u8Q@mail.gmail.com>

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In 79-82 Runoff got me my undergraduate texts formatted on a dec10.

Moving to work post degree on Unix and vms systems (my memory is that for
some reason VMS didn't have runoff) I had the Normalised "oh this must be
the same" hitting roff/nroff and got really confused by having both ms and
me macros.

Nobody seemed to be able to explain to me why you wanted both (the
mysteries and distinctions of v<X> vs BSD were completely lost to me at
this early stage). But macros aside, anyone who had used runoff had a
massively simpler path into roff than TeX. My future was set. The phd
students at Leeds looked down their noses at me for using cryptic .2 letter
inline magic. They were the high priests of things, I was just a computer
operator.  Watching them spend weeks and weeks wrangling a one em offset
problem stopping perfection in print was.. entertaining.

Then we somehow got ditroff at Leeds uni. That was really weird, because it
was obviously "better" but again nobody could explain why the di- bit
magically appeared. (We had a Benson- Varian slimey paper printer at some
fantastical dpi like 120 or 150 which turned up at the same time.) wasn't
this just Troff? Oh God, was it really called t/roff not troff...

The entire production path to lpr had some driver logic to put "--" cut
marks on the continuous paper so you knew where to guillotine from the
roll, but unfortunately was wired to US legal paper sizes not A4
(presumably some macro definitions file would have fixed this) I still have
a poem from the British computer society about the birth of the icl 2900
typeset in olde English, centred. That Benson-Varian  must have used damn
good printing because it's still readable 40 years later when parking
tickets (similar print process?) Fade out in a day.

It was also around the time that "tbl" had what we all thought was a bug,
drawing the horizontal boxlines off by one. Nobody at the time understood
this was to counteract a specific electromechanical printer issue inside
AT&T.  Since it was coming in BSD Unix I can imagine back inside Berkeley
people binning our complaints. If you don't remember which 1200bpi tape the
software came from, don't just complain at random...

The "pic" tool had also just hit, and it obviously didn't share those line
offset problems which made us all very suspicious: "ITS THE SAME PEOPLES
CODE" we shouted at each other (it wasnt) ...

G

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  reply	other threads:[~2021-12-31 23:08 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 101+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2021-12-31 15:47 Douglas McIlroy
2021-12-31 23:07 ` George Michaelson [this message]
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
2022-01-10 20:21           ` Jon Forrest
2022-01-11 22:48             ` Blake McBride
2022-01-11 23:18               ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-12  1:19                 ` Dave Horsfall
2022-01-12  1:46                 ` Blake McBride
2022-01-12  2:12                 ` Bakul Shah
2022-01-12 15:49                   ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-12 16:22                     ` Adam Thornton
2022-01-12  0:06               ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-12  1:48                 ` Blake McBride
2022-01-12  0:29               ` Nemo Nusquam
2022-01-12  1:53                 ` Blake McBride
     [not found]               ` <E3CC4B8A-4E88-4339-A4D3-4ED26BA80620@gmail.com>
2022-01-12  0:44                 ` Jon Forrest
2022-01-12  2:00                   ` Blake McBride
2022-01-12  2:10                     ` David Arnold
2022-01-12  2:26                       ` Adam Thornton
2022-01-12 19:54                     ` John Cowan
2022-01-13 10:13                       ` Thomas Paulsen
2022-01-13 20:00                         ` John Cowan
2022-01-10 20:33           ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-10 20:37             ` Richard Salz
2022-01-10 21:04               ` Dan Cross
2022-01-10 21:48                 ` Nemo Nusquam
2022-01-11  2:25                 ` Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TFX/VE6BBM)
2022-01-11  2:47                   ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-22  2:34                   ` [TUHS] troff environments, traps, and diversions (was: TeX and groff) Branden Robinson
2022-01-22 16:02                     ` Douglas McIlroy
2022-01-23 19:45                       ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-23 22:26                       ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-11  1:52               ` [TUHS] Recognizing TeX (was: TeX and groff (was: roff(7))) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-12  1:19             ` [TUHS] TeX and groff (was: roff(7)) Mary Ann Horton
2022-01-12  2:03               ` Blake McBride
2022-01-12  2:10               ` Bakul Shah
2022-01-12  3:44                 ` Dan Cross
2022-01-12 16:48               ` Steffen Nurpmeso
2022-01-10 20:46           ` Steffen Nurpmeso
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
2022-01-12 23:22                     ` [TUHS] troff or groff? (was: Demise of TeX and groff (was: roff(7))) Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-12 23:29                       ` Greg 'groggy' Lehey
2022-01-12 23:32                       ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-11 15:47                 ` [TUHS] Demise of TeX and groff (was: roff(7)) 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 18:06                           ` [TUHS] *roff history as told to GNU G. Branden Robinson
2022-01-12 18:34                             ` Dan Halbert
2022-01-12 22:48                               ` Clem Cole
2022-01-12 23:27                                 ` Charles H. Sauer
2022-01-13  0:35                                   ` Adam Thornton
2022-01-12 20:01                             ` Dan Cross
2022-01-12 22:32                             ` Clem Cole
2022-01-13  2:38                             ` John Labovitz
2022-01-13  7:42                               ` Lars Brinkhoff
2022-01-13 13:47                                 ` John Labovitz
2022-01-12  8:48                   ` [TUHS] Demise of TeX and groff (was: roff(7)) 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
2022-01-01 20:00     ` [TUHS] roff(7) [ and other related stuff ] Jon Steinhart
2022-01-02  0:12       ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-02  1:04         ` John Cowan
2022-01-02  1:20           ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-02  1:47             ` Steve Nickolas
2022-01-02  2:12               ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-02  3:56               ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-02  1:48             ` Jon Steinhart
2022-01-02  3:04             ` John Cowan
2022-01-02  3:30               ` Warner Losh
2022-01-01  1:11   ` [TUHS] roff(7) Phil Budne
2022-01-01  1:17     ` Chris Torek
2022-01-01  3:06       ` Larry McVoy
2022-01-01  3:34       ` George Michaelson
2022-01-05 21:15   ` Tony Finch

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