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RE: [Groff] RE: PS and "page background"

From: Ted Harding
Subject: RE: [Groff] RE: PS and "page background"
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 11:36:04 +0100 (BST)

On 21-Oct-05 Manas Laha wrote:
> Ted Harding's post on the above topic a few days ago was great.
> Not only did I learn about how to print a page background (something
> that I occasionally wanted to do but didn't know how), but his several
> examples of embedding Postscript code in a groff document has shown me
> new ways to use groff.
> Many thanks, Ted!
> - Manas Laha

Thanks, Manas!

Just sharing the fruits of some long experience ...

We old-timers seem to be starting to let it all hang out.
(I think Meg may have triggered it).

Miklos is asking for statistics ... he says he's (70 - x)
(0 < x < 1), and I'm 2 behind him; and so on ... This is
getting archaeological!

I think the big break-through for general use came with
the Apple Laserwriter in the very early 80s: the first
"commodity" PostScript printer! Once people had that,
and troff could generate PS, the last barriers were down.

I'm full of admiration for the folks who grappled with the
photo-typesetters -- sort of "optical daisywheel", I suppose.

And I can remember from the early 70s a friend drafting her
PhD and papers on a teletype using runoff. Strength of
character there.

As I said earlier, in those days one realised that troff had
all the capabilities you might want, if only you could work
out how to make them act. As needs arose, that is what we did.

Regarding the "man pages" issue, there was a period (mid-90s
to maybe 2001-2) following the take-off of Linux when groff
somewhat sank into obscurity. Because it is essential for
formatting Linux man-pages (just as it was for the original
Unicx man-pages), a general view spread, amongst people who
should have known better, that (as once expressed on a Linux
User Group list):

  The only function of groff is to format man pages

to which I replied

  I respectfully disagree (aka bollocks)

followed by an outline of what one really can use it for.

Happily perceptions are moving away from this, and back to
the proper view. When all is said and done, the fact that
troff was capable of general-purpose document formatting
is what saved Unix from being dropped as a project, pre-1970!

Best wihes to all,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 21-Oct-05                                       Time: 11:35:47
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