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Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software
Joerg van den Hoff
Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software
Wed, 3 Jun 2009 16:00:09 +0200
On Jun 03 2009 (Wed, 8:55), John¹ wrote:
> Many years ago, when type used to be set by hand, I was one of those who
> did the typesetting. I am now looking at the methodology of using either
> Groff or LaTex to produce print ready text. Can anyone briefly tell me if
> Groff does the same job as LaTex?
> Obviously there will be a bias in asking this group but does one have an
> advantage over the other?
> John Seago
> GNU/Linux Registered User No. #219566 http://counter.li.org/
> () ascii ribbon campaign - against html mail
> /\ - against microsoft attachments
a few additional random remarks:
I'm, too, mostly using 'groff' but LaTeX is more digestable
for publishers when submitting manuscripts so I'm in a
transition to LaTeX for this kind of job.
overall I think I like groff better.
LaTeX is more high level than groff. It essentially isolates
you completely from the formatting level. very difficult to
intervene if you don't like it, I believe.
groff is "already there" on each Linux/Unix type system
(even in Apple's MacOS) since it's needed for manpage
groff is a single pass formatter, LaTeX is multi-pass. so
things like forward page references ("cf. section 5, page
10") are easy in LaTeX whereas in groff you have to
intervene (forcing multiple passes and using some tricks)
Formatting directives in LaTeX are much more verbose. If
you really have to type all that stuff (instead of using
editor shortcuts or what else) it gets in the way a bit.
groff does good/excellent typesetting. LaTeX is supposedly
the 'gold standard' in terms of achievable quality. but
whether or not, e.g. the paragraph based hyphenation of
LaTeX is that relevant (compared to groff's line-based(?):
well I don't see much to complain about with groff.
(La)TeX is way more dogmatic how things "have" to look. so
it's more difficult to deviate from canonical behaviour, at
least for me.
LaTeX has lots of packages/styles predefined which one can
use to format, e.g., whole books including running headers,
cross referencing, bibliographies, index etc. all this is
possible in 'groff', too, but much of it has to be done
yourself or you have to ask on this list...
I believe a standard LaTeX install amounts to a few hundred
MB, groff comes in at maybe 10-20 MB (?) or something like
if you have documents with lots of graphics included the
only way in groff is to include everything as postscript.
this tends to inflate document (directory) size
substantially. using 'pdflatex' on the other hand allows to
keep everything as pdf. that's nicer.
I would recommend to try out a few 'simple' documents and
format them both with LaTeX and a good groff macro package
(would recommend `ms') and see how you get along with both
systems. my own preference now is to use groff as my default
and switch to LaTeX for large things like book chapters, not
because it's not possible with groff but rather because in
LaTeX sensible style definitions are easily available for
nearly every imaginable document. in groff such predefined
layouts are much more basic AFAIK.
there is a third candidate: 'lout' (there is a wikipedia
entry), which has quite some nice ideas, but it seems to
have at least some sub-optimal settings regarding
hyphenation thresholds which frequently squeezes too much
text in a line according to my taste.
last not least: groff can produce reasonably formatting of
ASCII documents (like this mail, for instance).
- [Groff] Typesetting Software, John¹, 2009/06/03
- RE: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Ted Harding, 2009/06/03
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software,
Joerg van den Hoff <=
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Tadziu Hoffmann, 2009/06/03
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Steve Izma, 2009/06/03
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Keith Marshall, 2009/06/04
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Steve Izma, 2009/06/04
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Clarke Echols, 2009/06/04
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Ralph Corderoy, 2009/06/04
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Tadziu Hoffmann, 2009/06/04
- Re: [Groff] Typesetting Software, Larry Kollar, 2009/06/04