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Re: [Groff] The future redux

From: Walter Alejandro Iglesias
Subject: Re: [Groff] The future redux
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 10:55:59 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.22 (2013-10-16)

On Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 10:55:31PM -0500, James K. Lowden wrote:
> On Wed, 26 Feb 2014 11:46:32 +0000
> Ralph Corderoy <address@hidden> wrote:
>>>> man pages don't really need expressive typography.
>>> Man pages are constrained by xterm.  A better display system would
>>> invite tables, graphs, equations, and links.
>> I don't think they are.  Or they didn't used to be.  It was common to
>> see man pages with `.if n' and `.if t', with the troff presenting the
>> same data in better form, e.g. ASCII art versus pic(1).  man pages
>> used to be commonly printed and high-quality output desired
> Hi Ralph,
> Like Deri, from time to time I render a man page with -Tps, when I want
> to look over it carefully or find myself referring back to it while
> working on something unfamiliar or fiddly.  But I would bet 4 people in
> 5 who type "man foo" don't know there's a typesetter behind it.
> So many people are so accustomed to nroff output of man pages that most
> web sites emulate its single worst characteristic, monospace fonts.
> And the results are either comical or tragic:
> or
> Apparently you can have either acceptable formatting with monospace
> fonts and forgo knowing what Å looks like, or you can see the character
> while imagining how the page should be formatted.  :-(
> I submit to you that if our command-line environment weren't still using
> 1980s technology to emulate 1970s hardware, we would have more
> graphical and unified documentation.  In other words, the terminal is
> the problem.

So if you see a guy trying to make a phone call with a hammer you think that
the problem is the hammer.

Besides, don't you have a better way of judging the usefulness of a tool than
the fashion (70s, 80s) approach?  Will you stop drinking water or breathing
oxygen the day some multinational tell you is outdated to sell you a modern

Finally, what does mean "more graphical and unified documentation"?  And why
that would be an improvement?

> Luckily, the terminal is also the solution.  Or, rather, a different
> terminal would be.  I call it VT-roff:

The output of the other two examples is by far more readable than this pdf.
May I think the problem is the groff postscript interpreter?

> Just a small matter of programming.  ;-)
> --jkl

Stop looking for the bug in the software, believe me the bug is not there.

Use your creativeness to solve problems (first yours) not to create more.

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