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Re: [Groff] XML and groff as frontend

From: Greg 'groggy' Lehey
Subject: Re: [Groff] XML and groff as frontend
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 10:23:25 +0300
User-agent: Mutt/

On Thursday, 20 October 2005 at 15:07:32 -0400, Zvezdan Petkovic wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 19, 2005 at 10:51:45PM -0600, D. E. Evans wrote:
>> groff is now a major component in a majority (I would think) of
>> UNIX systems, and UNIX variants.  It is used for online manuals,
>> and print manuals; it is used for writing documentation, memos,
>> letters, and so on.
> I don't agree with this assessment.
> Take a look at O'Reilly books (colophon section).  Until recently
> they all were converted from format X into groff and printed.

Has this changed?  A while back I looked at their conversion software
and ported it to FreeBSD (/usr/ports/textproc/gmat).  Unfortunately,
it's probably no longer buildable; there are some strange kludges in
there, and once I no longer had to use it, I didn't.

> Take a look at books written by W. R. Stevens.  Even the updated
> editions after his death are done by the new co-authors in groff.

My books are also written in groff.

> I think that limiting groff to "documentation, memos, letters, and
> manuals" is not right.

I didn't see a limitation above.  But I think it's fair to say that
the majority of books are *not* written in groff.  Even the O'Reilly
books are usually written in XML DocBook and converted to groff; this
process is painful enough that I gave up on it.

A more interesting question is: can you point to a book written in
groff (not just converted to and formatted by groff) with serious
layout problems?

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