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Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft

From: James K. Lowden
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft
Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:28:18 -0400

On Tue, 18 Mar 2014 18:13:11 -0400
"Eric S. Raymond" <address@hidden> wrote:

> * Strange, irregular, archaic-seeming markup design compared to XML or
> even TeX.  Brian Kernignan called it "rebarbative" in *1979*.

Yes, and typeset "D is for Digital" with groff in 2011.  Also available
for Kindle.  

More telling is the next paragraph, 

        "My first thought (a thought shared by many others) was that
this would be a glorious opportunity to replace TROFF with a new
formatting language: better designed, easier to work with, and of
course much faster. This remains a desirable goal, but, after quite a
bit of thought spread over several years, I am still not really much
closer to a better design, let alone an implementation."  

I likewise have yet to see a better syntax.  I've seen different, used
DocBook, digested the semantic-markup argument.  I've not seen better.

I do not understand why anyone would say XML is better.  It was not
intended as a syntax for manual input, and  looks it.  It does its
level best to hide the prose amid the tags.  If that's modern, then
modern has much to learn from archaic-seeming.  

I apologize for going off-topic.  It's just that I wouldn't want
Kernighan's meaning to be misconstrued.  He wasn't condemning troff
syntax.  He was admitting, however objectionable it might be, that he
found it impossible to improve on.  As has everyone since, claims to the
contrary notwithstanding.  


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