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Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?

From: Steve Izma
Subject: Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2019 22:27:04 -0400
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170113 (1.7.2)

On Tue, Mar 26, 2019 at 12:46:27AM +0100, Ingo Schwarze wrote:
> Subject: Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?
> Tadziu Hoffmann wrote on Mon, Mar 25, 2019 at 09:55:31PM +0100:
> > ... Were any other
> > troffs in widespread use at the time (ca. 1985)?
> I doubt it.  There have certainly been some niche implementations
> at various times and some forks from the main lines, but i never
> heard that any important forks diverged much, or that any independent
> reimplementations were influential before the advent of GNU troff.

A little bit more homework would have been useful here. SoftQuad
troff has been mentioned many times in this mailing list.
SoftQuad licensed the source code for ditroff from AT&T and
thoroughly rewrote it (including preprocessors, device drivers,
etc.). The result was used extensively by large corporations and
the U.S. military (not necessarily, from my point of view,
something to brag about) for documentation, especially once
SoftQuad integrated an SGML front end to the typesetting suite.

In my work at Wilfrid Laurier University Press, we used both the
Unix-based and DOS-based versions from SoftQuad (and MKS) to
typeset books and journals from about 1986 to about 1998,
probably tens of thousands of pages.

The system was impressive enough in both its results and its
design that James Clarke essentially took it as a basis for
writing groff. Bizarrely, Wikipedia lists Clarke as a "notable
employee" of SoftQuad, but I doubt very much that that was ever
the case. I do know that there was significant communication
between him and the SoftQuad technical people during the time
that he developed groff.

Hardly, I'd say, a niche implementation.

        -- Steve

Steve Izma
Home: 35 Locust St., Kitchener, Ontario, Canada  N2H 1W6
E-mail: address@hidden  phone: 519-745-1313  cell: 519-998-2684

Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first
place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible,
you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.
        -- Brian Kernighan

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