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Re: Learning troff - where to start?

From: Larry McVoy
Subject: Re: Learning troff - where to start?
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2020 17:22:52 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

So one thing I use a lot is something I got James to add to pic, the
`i'th last thing.   Here is some actual pic source where I used that:

        for i = 1 to units by 1 do {
                line <-> dashed from `i'th [].C.s - (.10, 0) to \
                    last box.nw + (i/(units+1)*w, 0)

As you may know, you can place stuff relative to a previous thing.
I had a need for being able to place a list of things, place another
list of things and draw lines between the two lists.  Pictures are
worth a thousand words, the .pdf here is done via the .pic here.
You change the units variable and it will draw more or less.

For differences between troff and groff

        man groff_diff

There are differences in there that are a distinct improvement on the
original troff, I use them.  Groff is a better troff.

On Wed, Oct 14, 2020 at 10:36:45AM +1100, Damian McGuckin wrote:
> On Wed, 14 Oct 2020, Greg 'groggy' Lehey wrote:
> >An excellent book, and one that I have used a lot.  But nobody can claim
> >that it's up-to-date (it predates groff), and there are many features in
> >groff that weren't in the troff version described.  Isn't it sad that
> >nothing more modern is available?
> How many people use features of 'groff' that are not in 'troff'?
> We use groff with MM for half our corporate reports, i.e. those that are not
> mandated as Word, and all our (computer generated) invoices and P/Os, and we
> use no groff specific features as far as I know. And have for 30+ years.
> Regards - Damian
> Pacific Engineering Systems International, 277-279 Broadway, Glebe NSW 2037
> Ph:+61-2-8571-0847 .. Fx:+61-2-9692-9623 | unsolicited email not wanted here
> Views & opinions here are mine and not those of any past or present employer

Larry McVoy                  lm at     

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