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RE: [Groff] installation of ms macros

From: Ted Harding
Subject: RE: [Groff] installation of ms macros
Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 10:14:34 -0000 (GMT)

Hi Folks (and Stewart!),

A bit more detail on Stewart's message:

On 23-Feb-01 Stewart C. Russell wrote:
> When Ted was up here yesterday (more on this later) we discovered an
> interesting installation problem. All of Ted's scripts are based on the
> ms macros, but we found that every time we tried something with a .char
> definition in it, it failed.
> It seems that on installation, if groff (1.16.1) find an existing troff
> installation, it points its tmac.s back to the existing vendor's
> tmac.s.
> Sun's ms macros do not support .char either the same way as groff, or
> indeed may not support it at all.

What the Sun ms macros did was define a macro ".ch" (to do with
centred headers) and it would seem that Sun only sees short names
so that ".char charname string" was seen as ".ch charname string",
while Sun's ".ch" expects a numeric argument, with consequent

I forget the exact pathnames now, but in effect what had happened
was that the file "groff_macro_path/tmac.s" consisted solely of
the line

  .so sun_macro_path/tmac.s

Stewart resolved it by taking the "tmac" stuff out of a groff
tar archive and copying it over the ones originally installed.
This was a groff-1.16.1 version, by the way.

> While I understand that the rationale of having groff trying to work
> with existing macros (after all, they could be heavily customised), it
> does mean that the default groff installation is effectively broken on
> many systems.

There might be a "compatibility" motive here: If you have a traditional
troff, with its own macros, and you want to use groff in compatibility,
then it might seem natural/desirable to have the groff macros point
to the traditional troff macros that you have been using since Noah.
However, this could perhaps be arranged by a conditional command at
the head of the groff macro file, on the lines of

  .ie \\n[.C] .so sun_macro_path/tmac.s
  .el \{
  groff macros

It seems to me that causing the true groff macros to disappear
altogether on installation is a serious defect.


E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 284 7749
Date: 23-Feb-01                                       Time: 10:14:34
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