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Re: [Groff] It is time to modernise "groff"

From: Blake McBride
Subject: Re: [Groff] It is time to modernise "groff"
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 2017 13:33:45 -0500

On Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 3:54 PM, Bjarni Ingi Gislason <address@hidden>

> ........
>  it is time to modernize "groff" and
> get rid of Americanism, old, obsolete, deprecated, bad, and worse
> decisions.
>   .....

First, I love troff.  In my 35+ years in the software industry, I've never
seen a better balance between simplicity, effectiveness, and power with
respect to producing fine documents.  Although, I have been a software
engineer for all of that time, and I have a lot of experience with TeX and
LaTeX, I feel that I am pretty comfortable with what troff is doing, but I
have never understood TeX.  For me, TeX always boils down to try this, try
that, ask the net.  Although TeX may produce theoretically better output,
troff is sufficiently good and a much easier tool to work with.  In short,
troff is a better compromise between power and simplicity.

Second, I don't think troff is gaining in popularity.  The contrary is,
unfortunately, more likely.  Any attempt at "modernizing" troff would
likely cause more old-timers to stop using troff while not appealing better
to the younger group.  Therefore, any attempt to change troff would likely
accelerate its demise.

Lastly, as stated by others, troff has a substantial history.  Significant
changes in troff could invalidate most of the old documents leaving troff
with no usage base, and a poor tool at rendering all of the troff documents
out there.

Enhancing troff without breaking old documents is a great thing - and much
of that has been accomplished with groff.  Continuing that trend is good.
If you want to create a new tool that takes what was learned from troff and
TeX, and produce a better power / simplicity tool - go for it!

Blake McBride

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