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Re: [Groff] groff v. TeX

From: walter harms
Subject: Re: [Groff] groff v. TeX
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 09:33:17 +0200
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20060911)

Larry Kollar wrote:
> John Poltorak wrote:
>> Can anyone explain what the differences are between groff and TeX and
>> which, if either would be most suitable for producing a magazine?
> They're both typesetters that use plain text files with embedded markup
> to produce output. Both use macro packages to avoid dealing with the raw
> language. Both do a better job of typesetting than other Free or
> commercial offerings (with the possible exception of InDesign and the
> real top-shelf typesetters). In general, these are the differences as I
> see them:
> * groff is faster; TeX's typesetting is a bit better (especially math)
> * groff uses a combination of in-line and whole line markup; TeX is
> in-line only
> * TeX's markup is more verbose
> * LaTeX, the most popular macro package for TeX, severely restricts the
> type of page layouts and styles; groff is somewhat less restrictive

to be fair, LATEX is a macro package

> * groff outputs a wider variety of media: PS, PDF, HTML, and text; TeX
> is primarily PS and PDF, although there are external conversion scripts
> for HTML
> I'm not which which (if either) would be most suitable for producing a
> magazine -- they tend to not have a consistent layout from page to page,
> and you'll have to write some macro magic to flow text around pictures,
> sidebars, and so forth. For anything else, it comes down to which one
> that works best for you & your needs. I learned *roff near the beginning
> of my technical writing career, and I recently switched back to groff
> from FrameMaker. It takes one or two minutes to produce PDFs for a
> 4-volume set of documents running over 750 pages, a job that literally
> took an entire afternoon on my old computer running Frame & would still
> need nearly an hour to complete on the new computer.

Tex/Latex can already work its way around packages and beside Latex there are
much more packages out, with special features for different applications
(e.g. Magazine settings).
It is simple to design a few pages with most of the DTP programs like FM. As 
all programming languages it is much of a personal choice to find a tools that 
YOU do what you want. Even combinations may be helpful but most settle for one 
IMHO it takes some time to be familiar with the *ideas* of a program. Even if 
hard: take that time; experiment; compare the results, have fun designing !
Most people will recognize the Layout and associate the program


(trying hard to avoid the 'my lawn is greener that your lawn' problem)

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