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ms, then mm, then man (was: mm(7) DT string and super/subscripts)

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: ms, then mm, then man (was: mm(7) DT string and super/subscripts)
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2021 23:31:59 +1000
User-agent: NeoMutt/20180716

At 2021-08-09T22:11:57+1000, G. Branden Robinson wrote:
> At 2021-08-09T03:12:42-0500, Nate Bargmann 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.  Also, I think
> > that either MS or MM is relatively easy to learn for anyone versed in
> > MAN, though there are differences, of course.
> I agree with the foregoing.  mm seems to have absorbed a lot of lessons
> about macro package design from ms and man(7)--not a surprise given that
> ms blazed a trail in this field.

I need to correct myself here.  mm(7) is significantly older than I
thought.  As others have noted, and as I found in a Version 10 Research
Unix bibliography[1], we can date mm back to 1976.  (Mike Bianchi
weighed in to recollect seeing it in 1977[2].)  I was going to speculate
that the direction of influence for font style alternation macros ran
from mm to man, and not the other way around as I thought--except the mm
in PWB Unix 1.0 (July 1977)[3] has no such macros[4].

I've scared up some other recollections via equine dentristy, as Damian
suggested, from Doug McIlroy and Clem Cole.

        It has often been told how the Bell Labs law department became
        the first non-research department to use Unix, displacing a
        newly acquired stand-alone word-processing system that fell
        short of the department's hopes because it couldn't number the
        lines on patent applications, as USPTO required. When Joe
        Ossanna heard of this, he told them about nroff and promised to
        give it line-numbering capability the next day.  They tried it
        and were hooked. ... Joe Ossanna did most of the teaching, and
        no doubt supplied samples to copy. As far as I know the only
        other instructional materials would have been man pages and the
        nroff manual (forbiddingly terse, though thorough). He may have
        made a patent-macro package, but I doubt it; I think honor for
        the first real macro package goes to Lesk's -ms.[5]

        FWIW: [I would check with one of his former students who might
        know for sure], but I was under the impression [[John Lions]]
        used the 5th/6th edition version of the Mike Lesk Macro's (-ms)
        that were around with nroff at the time. ... the 'memorandum
        macros' (-mm) came out of Whippany, and I believe were first
        released with PWB. They may have been included with the
        typesetter C release too, but I don't think they are part of



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