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RE: [Groff] slack4, groff and ps

From: Ted Harding
Subject: RE: [Groff] slack4, groff and ps
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 2005 22:28:29 +0100 (BST)

On 16-Oct-05 mikkel meinike wrote:
> Hallow
> I have a very small and old laptop computer with a very small and
> wonderful linux on it called Basiclinux 3.0. I have for some time bin
> looking for some word processing program. That can output good looking
> postscript (pdf) file. Abiword won't run on my VGA monitor and TeX is
> way to big and complex and I don't even do any mathematic. OK my local
> lug advice my to try with groff *roff. So now I am here. First I 'd
> like to know if you know if the groff packages that is in Slackware
> 4.0 can convert to postscript. (also with the Danish letters æ, ø,
> å)(I can install slackware 4.0 packages to Basiclinux 3.0)
> /Mikkel

Hello Mikkel,

Long ago (1994) I was using a much earlier version of Slackware
(Slackware 1.0, which came out in July 1993)!

There was no problem with any of the things you want.

Groff has always had the capacity to generate PostScript as one
of its standard output formats, and various accented characters
(such as the Danish æ, ø, å you ask about) were readily available.

Back in those days, I was using groff heavily on a very primitive
machine (386 4MHz processor, 4MB RAM, 40MB hard drive of which
25MB was assigned to Linux) for a variety of purposes which often
required complicated formatting, and also included multilingual
work, and groff had all the capabilities required, and there
were no system problems.

Even prior to that, I was using the "dgj" port of groff to DOS
on that same machine, and was still able to do all those things.

The only thing I specially did (and indeed have done ever since),
since the machine was so weak, was to buy a PostScript printer.
With that, the PostScript output from groff went straight to the
printer and did not require conversion in the computer to another
printer language.

Which version of groff is it on the Slackware 4.0? Not that this
is of much importance for standard use; though there have been
many improvements since then, groff (like troff before it) always
had a good repoertoire of capabilities.

The specifically Danish characters are standard in groff (along
of course with many others) and have names

  \(ae \(AE  for  æ Æ

  \(oa \(oA  for  å Å

  \(/o \(/O  for  ø Ø

(which you can also enter as \[ae], \[oa], \[/o] etc. You can
also rename \[oa] to say \[ao], \[/o] to \[o/] if you prefer;
you can choose your own alternative names).

I tend to prefer the "\[..]" form as being more easily readable,
especially when proof-reading (since "[..]" marks out the limits
od the special name more clearly than "\(.."), as well as "ao",
"o/" rather than the "oa", "/o":

  P\[ao] \[o/]en i s\[o/]en vi kan f\[ao] en s\[ae]t -- \[Ao]lborgs
     Akvavit med en Carlsbergs \[o/]l

is possibly more readable than

  P\(oa \(/oen i s\(/oen vi kan f\(oa en s\(aet -- \(oAlborgs
     Akvavit med en Carlsbergs \(/ol

to give

  På øen i søen vi kan få en sæt -- Ålborgs Akvavit med en
     Carlsbergs øl

(but everyone settles on their own preferred details for that
kind of thing).

Good luck with the installation, and welcome to groff!
Please ask to this list any questions you need to get going.

Best wishes,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 16-Oct-05                                       Time: 22:26:13
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