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Re: [Groff] UTP ducoment translation, bloatware, and MS Offfice

From: Larry Kollar
Subject: Re: [Groff] UTP ducoment translation, bloatware, and MS Offfice
Date: Wed, 28 Aug 2002 21:48:54 -0400

Richard Loken wrote:

> I am reading the strangest things on this list today and I will cite them
> out of context and without credit,
>       "new material should not be written in troff"
>       "disk is $1.00 a gigabyte and any CPU under 1.3GHz is obselete"
>       "[re: mm docs] if you MS Office see..."
> Say what?  And why are you saying it?

Man, am *I* ever behind on my email!!! (Moving does that to you.)

> Why would I want an up to date troff documentation package if I am not writing
> troff docs?  Why would I want to read these documents in HTML or PDF or Word
> if I am writing troff docs?

Ummmm... if you're the only person who is going to read what you
wrote, you're right on. Otherwise, you might create a web site and
save yourself a lot of distribution hassle, or your Aunt Tillie
might want to read your novel and you can't remember what kind of
printer she has... or you have customers who want a manual on CD
along with their software. (That's HTML & PDF, but I can't think
of why anyone would want to make a Weird file. :-P )

> I use troff because I can write what I want to write very quickly and I
> can make major modifications in style and/or format in a fraction of the
> time that a WYSIWYG word processor can do it.  My wife and my daughter write
> their university papers in troff, they write them fast and check them fast
> and life goes on.  All of this with a 75MHz Pentium and a Deskjet 500 and why
> not?  They both work just fine and I got them for free from some ugrading 
> Windows victem.

Yup, I'm shifting a lot of my operations over to a 100MHz Pentium
laptop that I got for free (+ $130 for batteries, there's no such
thing as a free laptop). My main desktop machine is a 266MHz G3
running YellowDog Linux, and troff runs amazingly fast on it --
it cranks out hundreds of pages in seconds. I've said before on
this list that I would have given body parts for a system like this
in 1985. :-)

> If somebody is so geeky that they want a PDF document then I grind it through 
> Ghostscript and send them PDF.  HTML?  Whafor?  It looks fancy and it can sort
> of be searched...

HTML has its uses -- hyperlinks are certainly easier to do in HTML
than on paper. Paper is better for some thing, HTML for others.

> HTML man pages?  That
> illness is spreading through the Linux community at a horrific pace, why not
> read man pages with man?  Man provides page numbers at least.

Again, it has its uses -- I've read HTML manpages when the regular
ones weren't available (away from the regular computer) or I want
to know a little bit about the program before downloading it. But
I'll admit to printing out manpages (especially longer ones) when
I refer to them often.

> ... I have another friend who wants
> me to write some device drivers for ditroff under FreeBSD because he thinks
> only pure Unix belongs in FreeBSD and Groff has strayed too far from the
> path.
> I never agreed with them until today.

Huh. Don't confuse (some of) the users with the program, is the
only thing I can think of as an answer. Today's groff is so much
better than the troff of 1985, in so many different ways, I can't
even begin to count them.

Larry Kollar   k o l l a r  at  a l l t e l . n e t
"Content creators are the engine that drives value in the
information life cycle."   -- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc

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