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Re: [Groff] Back to the future

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: Re: [Groff] Back to the future
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 20:30:18 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Thu, Mar 06, 2014, Keith Marshall wrote:
> On 06/03/14 16:35, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> > No, what I want is for all Unix documentation to be properly
> > wenbbed and crosslinked.
> Well, that's certainly a vision to which I *can* subscribe, but
> groff is about so much more than Unix documentation;

Keith's and Eric's statements sum things up nicely.  Eric's project
is worthy, but concerns a specific groff use-case only (manpages).
His larger vision has ramifications well beyond groff, or so I see
it.  Insofar as groff is part of his larger scheme and will remain
so (cleaning up legacy manpages, facilitating the semantic parsing
of future ones), it's in the best interests of Unix's future itself
to support his endeavour.

Side by side, the list has made it clear that manpages do not form
the bulk of current member usage--which, I posit, reflects the
general as well as the specific.  Users who come to groff via mom,
for example, want a typesetter to produce research papers, annual
reports, product sheets, catalogues, presentations, and so on.  If
my experience this past fall is any indication, there may be a
growing number of these. groff is, indeed, about so much more than
Unix documentation.

I will continue to push toward improvements in the typesetting
backend and the requests that drive it.  I'm aware we're still shy
a few good coders, unless there are list members who aren't piping
up, which makes it that much more essential to draft a mission
statement, get it out there, and see who's interested.

To that end, it would really help if members would post proposals
about changes/improvements to the backend and requests, with
explanations or defences as necessary.  It'll help me get a handle
on specifics, which can then be folded into the mission statement.

Peter Schaffter

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