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Re: troff Memorandum Macros documentation derived from the paper "MM - M

From: Damian McGuckin
Subject: Re: troff Memorandum Macros documentation derived from the paper "MM - Memorandum Macros"
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2021 10:59:53 +1000 (AEST)
User-agent: Alpine 2.02 (LRH 1266 2009-07-14)

The following is a personal opinion.

On Mon, 19 Jul 2021, Nate Bargmann wrote:

In your blog article you mention trying all the macro packages years back and decided that mm was to your liking. I've not used any of the macro packages except for man and wonder if I would get use out of either mm or ms for single page letters and some short documents where the use of a table may be warranted rather than a GUI word processor.

We have used ?roff with MM for 30+ years for letters, quotes, invoices, contrcts, technical/engineering reports and class notes. Not exclusively these days due to the proliferation of Word. We now have 100,000+ such documents accumulated over time. I use Microsoft Word under sufferance or when I work with others who use this format. I am a novice TeX user. I am still learning new things with EQN and PIC and everything else with ?roff.

40+ years ago when I started using nroff (and a few years later when I started using troff), MM had much more functionality than MS for writing technical reports and papers. MM produced superior looking documents, needed pretty well no low-level ?roff commands, and could produce a good document with a smaller set of macros than could MS. The university department for which I worked at the time, Civil Engineering, adopted it across the board. We produced a word processing documentat that included a beginners tutorial on MM which I wrote, the original DWB/MM documentation which we could reproduce under our AT+T licence, cheat sheets, and of course the EQN and TBL documentation. It had a print run into the 1000s and permeated across Australia. It was used by both IT professionals and non IT types within our context. We used 'ED to create those documents at the start of its use but very quickly moved to VI.

You tend to stick with what you know so I have not changed. When I moved to industry, I kept using troff with MM and I convinced others to do so as it produced superior document to any 1980s word processing system. If MOM had been available in the 1980s, I would probably be a MOM user. But too hard to change. now and MOM does buy us enough now.

I wrote a paper a few weeks ago on the use of HPC-capable Chapel language for Linear Algebra applications. It was written with Groff with MM and contained Tables and Eqnuations en embedded images. Groff+MM easily coped with the ACM paper format I had to use.

Stay safe - Damian

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