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Re: [DRAFT] Revised groff ms manual for review

From: Mike Bianchi
Subject: Re: [DRAFT] Revised groff ms manual for review
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 09:12:28 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

> Overall, let’s (both of us) focus on trimming anything that doesn’t
> help a reader get a -ms document together.

But don't throw away the trimmings.  They often contain info that the
more involved readers might value.  So maybe there can be an Appendix called
"Color Commentary"?  ;)

On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 11:40:26PM -0500, Larry Kollar wrote:
> G. Branden Robinson <> wrote:
> > Happy Halloween!
> > 
> > Ready for something on the gory and disturbing side?
> I got six staples in my head, day before Halloween. They’re out now,
> but I had a live-action creepshow going for the day. Bring it. :D
> > I feel like I'm about 40% of my way through a huge update of Larry
> > Kollar's document, as promised earlier this year.  I've done most
> > of the work over the past 2-3 weekends; the promise of a release kicked
> > my rear into gear.
> I’ve looked it over. I’m not sure if the chatty parts are yours or mine
> at the moment. When I get a chance, I’ll run a diff and see which of us
> said what.
> Overall, let’s (both of us) focus on trimming anything that doesn’t
> help a reader get a -ms document together.
> > … I started discovering just how much is of our
> > s.tmac is undocumented, and how much confusion there has historically
> > been over what, _exactly_, constitutes the historical ms interface.
> I have mixed feelings about this. What’s the goal, here? Unless people
> are trying to resurrect older documents, they shouldn’t have to care about
> the “historical” interface — just use what’s there. But…
> There was once “the” *roff. Then it sunk, and Groff took its place. But
> thanks to Plan9, the “the” *roff resurfaced with a lot of nice updates, then
> got forked to Neatroff and Heirloom. Fortunately, the differences are
> small enough that one can write a -ms extension package for both, using
> “.ie g / .el” or “.if g / .if neat" in a few places.
> The whole point of was *not* to get into internal details. It was
> mostly “here’s how you use Groff and -ms to put a document together,
> and here’s how you can control the formatting.” Yes, the end of the
> document does describe differences from the original -ms, and that’s
> probably helpful for the Plan9 derivatives.
> But unless you’ve unearthed a 35 year old document that assumes it’s
> using “the” *roff, and is doing all sorts of creepy things under the hood,
> it shouldn’t matter much. My college roommate sent me a book he wrote
> in -mm, back in the 80s, and I got Groff to format it by adding “\&” to
> the beginning (he had a custom cover). The same should apply to -ms
> documents.
> If we want to support data archaeologists, maybe we should write a
> separate document for them. :D
> — Larry

 Mike Bianchi
 Foveal Systems

 973 822-2085

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