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Re: [Groff] What should me/mm/ms.. be for?

From: Jaap-Jan Boor
Subject: Re: [Groff] What should me/mm/ms.. be for?
Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 15:55:42 +0100 (MET)

> Hi Folks,
> I'd like to appeal to the extensive knowledge and
> historical experience of readers for a possible
> anzswer to a question which has intrigued me ever
> since I have been using troff/groff.
> The main macro packages for cocument formatting ared
> 'man', 'me', 'mm', 'ms'.
> The question is: what are these respectively best
> suited for? Or, maybe more precisely, what were they
> originally intended to be best suited for?

I think the Unix V7 manuals only talk about man and ms,
that where the original macros from Bell Labs

me is from BSD, don't know why the Berkely people started
with me. I think I remember complaints about Bell specific
macros, like AT&T site locations. Me is a substitute for ms
I think.

mm is from Sys III and later, which should fix
some ms weaknesses and or problems. So mm is also ment
as a substitue for ms



> I have always supposed that their names (which are
> the originals from way back) are intended to suggest
> their purpose, i.e. what type of document they were
> designed for.
> One is obvious: "troff -man" immediately evokes the
> "man page" format, and of course it is absolutely
> clear from the 'man' macros that this, and basically
> only this, is its intended purpose.
> Beyond that, it gets a bit vague as far as I can see.
> "troff -ms" suggests "MS = manuscript", i.e. a general
> purpose type of document, letter/report/book.
> "troff -me" and "troff -mm" don't so obviously suggest
> anything to me. I guess that "me" stands for "memorandum"
> or similarly structured document. I don't really have
> a clue what "mm" might stand for. The man-pages for these macros
> (in any version of UNIX known to me) have never explained
> this sort of thing. It would seem that the attitude of
> the original creators was "the man pages will tell you
> what can be done; take your pick according to what you
> want to do".
> The aspect that has bugged me is that these ("me", "mm", "ms")
> have considerable overlap, but each also has features not in
> the others (and, from experience, whichever one you use you
> sooner or later reach a point where you wish you were using
> another). So there is an element of constraint implied in
> any particular choice of macros.
> For instance, while "ms" (plus additional macros of my own)
> is my general-purpose workhorse, often I would like to
> have features of "me" to hand. (The obligatory page-break
> in reverting from multi-column to single-column in "ms"
> is a case in point).
> Does anyone have comments on these questions?
> With thanks,
> Ted.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
> Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 167 1972
> Date: 28-Nov-01                                       Time: 09:46:15
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