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## Re: [Groff] groff_ms.man

 From: Larry Kollar Subject: Re: [Groff] groff_ms.man Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 22:04:24 -0500

Tadziu Hoffmann <address@hidden> wrote:

> Hehe, couldn't pass this one up.
>
> \begin{flame}

You call this a flame? :-)
This is another thing I like about the groff list -- it's a bit
friendlier than news:comp.text.tex.

> > > > One can say that groff shares the same problem, but I'm
> > > > slowly working on a macro package to take care of it.
>
> Uh-Oh.  You're using two different standards in your argument,
> no?  You only complain about the outdated look of TeX documents.
> Do you simply whine about the outdated look of -ms?  No.  You
> sit down and make a great effort of writing a new macro package.

So far I have to agree, including the use of the word "whine." :-)

> What's keeping you from expending the same effort for a TeX
> macro package?  TeX does not force a particular look, as neither
> does groff.  And writing macros for TeX isn't harder than
> writing macros for groff.

Here's where I disagree.
To work effectively with (raw) TeX, you have to purchase the TeXbook.
Internet. This is also something that Texinfo does right.

(Yes, I know that you can find the TeXbook online -- I may even have
a copy -- but critical macros are missing so you can't create a DVI
or print it unless you know enough about TeX to recreate the macros.)

Besides, I'm very familiar with groff syntax, so *for me* it is
easier to write macros for groff.

> > If I have to deal with LaTeX at all, I fire up LyX. Now
> > there's a program that gets out of your way & lets you
> > *write*.
>
> I simply don't get it.  How does LaTeX not let you write?  I use
> both LaTeX and groff and see no fundamental differences.  The
> problem with using LyX is that you lose all the features a good
> text editor gives you.  Give LaTeX some slack.  You can at least
> read and understand what you've written long time after.  Groff
> is more like a write-only language.  (Like PostScript -- another
> great language, but really hard to read.)

I've alluded to this before. TeX and LaTeX are highly verbose --
perhaps by design. The long tag names disrupt my train of thought,
especially when I'm in a "flow" state and I'm just trying to get
everything down. Groff's tags are short enough that I can type
them in on the fly without interrupting my thoughts. For that kind
of writing, LyX is even more suitable -- the font is easier to read
and it doesn't distract you with margins and page breaks like a
regular word processor would.

As far as write-only goes, I suppose that's in the eye of the
formatting it and never had a problem understanding what was
happening. I've opened -ms documents after six months and picked
right up where I left off. This is another thing that Texinfo
does right -- it's easy to read. In contrast, TeX/LaTeX (to me)
look more like M\$ Word's RTF format.

Then again, I'd probably rather write in LaTeX than straight XML.
XML is a fantastic interchange format, but the trick is translating
the document to XML in the first place.

> \end{flame}
>
> No hard feelings intended, but your argument really
> doesn't do justice to such a fine program as TeX.

Indeed, this is fun. I've been in some real flame wars and I
can stand with the best of 'em, but being nasty isn't fun.

--
Larry Kollar   k o l l a r  at  a l l t e l . n e t
"Content creators are the engine that drives value in the
information life cycle."   -- Barry Schaeffer, on XML-Doc