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

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: Re: troff Memorandum Macros documentation derived from the paper "MM - Memorandum Macros"
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2021 22:33:01 +1000
User-agent: NeoMutt/20180716

Hi, Damian!

At 2021-08-09T21:30:08+1000, Damian McGuckin wrote:
> > What I have been able to ascertain is that MM was an evolution and
> > extension of MS by Bell Labs as both originated there.
> Hmmm. Not sure. I think young Doug was there when they both started
> and could enlighten us. I am talking about the MM that was available
> in PWB UNIX. It dates from 1977. I thought that the MS paper was dated
> 1978.

My own research undertaken for updating Larry Kollar's suggests
that there were several revisions of Lesk's ms manual.  One of them even
mentioned GECOS in its title.

There is clear evidence of tmac.s in Version 6 Unix (1975)[1].

> I started using in 1979 so they were both available at that time. So
> the true history predates me. As I said, Doug would be the authority
> on it.

> > I find 'DT' referenced in the description of the ISODATE macro and
> > nowhere else in the page (groff 1.22.4; the string is completely removed
> > in the Git HEAD of contrib/mm/, yet it works just fine.
> It is defined in
>       m.tmac
> as
>       .als DT cov*new-date

Yes, and it gets realiased thus in the localization macro files.

> > IMO it should be included in the "strings used in mm" subsection.
> > Is there a reason why it is not and why its mention has been removed
> > completely rather than expanded?
> You are so right. Looks like a manual page error.

Yup; as noted in my previous reply, this was a mistake on my part,
arising from a lack of access to authentic documentation.  I'll fix it.

> > One drawback to MM is the lack of native super/subscript macros.
> > However, I lifted the superscript formulas from s.tmac and include
> > their definitions at the top of my letterhead file, appropriately
> > named SUP/SUPX as borrowed from MOM.  ;-)
> Why not use the preprocessor eqn(1) which means using definining the
> delimiter at the start of the document with
>       .EN

ITYM .EQ above. :)

>       delim ##
>       .EN
> at the start of your document and then use (say)
>       #x sup 2#
> within the text.

groff mm(7) is already heavily extended; I think we should go ahead and
add strings for super- and subscripting unless someone can come up with
a really good reason not to.  I'd feel embarrassed telling someone they
had to bust out eqn(1) for such a simple typesetting task, and there's
also the problem of telling them how to talk around the presumptions eqn
makes about what it's setting if the context _isn't_ mathematical, like
a footnote marker on ordinary prose, or a stoichiometric formula from
chemistry, where the symbols for the elements are never set in italics.



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