[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [groff] Design and Implementation of *roff

From: Ted Harding
Subject: Re: [groff] Design and Implementation of *roff
Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2018 18:52:29 +0000

One thing that does not seem to have been mentioned so far
(or perhaps I have overlooked it) is the role of roff
(abbreviation of "runoff", to reduce key-strokes) in
the emergence of Unix itself.

Unix was not originally developed by Bell Labs (as a
corporation) but by a group of Bell Labs people working
"on the side" to develop a simpler and better version of
the Bell Labs operating system Multics. These included
Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Doug McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna.
When they finally got it working, Bell Labs was not interested
in adopting it. So, happily inspired, they developed the
text-formatter runoff (--> roff) on Unix, and then
demonstrated to Bell Labs how good it was at formatting
structured documents -- in particular legal documents.
At this point Bell Labs woke up, and adopted Unix!

Without roff, Unix might well have disappeared.

I think man-pages came later (now that roff could
easily format their structured layout).

Best wishes to all,

PS: Unix of course teems with abbreviations, such as
"roff" for "runoff", "ls" for "list", "mv" for "move",
etc., including "man" for "manual". This provides many
opportunities for interesting experiments with language.
So, if you are using a Unix/Linux system with standard
man-pages, on a command-line terminal enter:
  man sex
and see what you get!

On Sun, 2018-12-02 at 11:36 -0500, Yves Cloutier wrote:
> Hi Dave, thanks for this link!
> On Sat, Dec 1, 2018 at 7:27 AM Dave Bucklin <address@hidden> wrote:
> > I just came across this on Reddit. It seems relevant.
> >
> >
> >

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]