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Re: Standardize roff (was: *roff `\~` support)

From: DJ Chase
Subject: Re: Standardize roff (was: *roff `\~` support)
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 2022 14:49:10 +0000

On Sun Aug 14, 2022 at 9:56 AM EDT, Ingo Schwarze wrote:
> Hi,
> DJ Chase wrote on Sat, Aug 13, 2022 at 05:27:34PM +0000:
> > Have we ever considered a de jure *roff standard?
> No, i think that would be pure madness given the amount of working
> time available in any of the roff projects.
> […]

This is very sad to hear.

> > It could also lead to more users & use cases because existing
> > users could count on systems supporting certain features, so
> > they could use *roff in more situations, which would lead to
> > more exposure.
> You appear to massively overrate the importance end-users
> typically attribute to standardization.

That’s probably because *I* massively overrate the importance of
standardization (I mean I literally carry a standards binder with me).
Still, though, it’s rather annoying that end users — especially
programmers — don’t value standards as much.

> > It’s ridiculous that *roff isn’t part of POSIX when it was Unix’s
> > killer feature.
> You are welcome to spend the many years required to change that.
> But be aware that some standardization efforts that are part of
> POSIX resulted in parts of the standard that are barely useable
> for practical work.  One famous example is make(1).
> Don't get me wrong: i think standardization is very nice to have,
> should be taken very seriously when available, and provides some
> value even when the standardization effort mostly failed, like in
> the case of make(1).  But standardization is absolutely not cheap.
> To the contrary, it is usually significantly more expensive than
> implementation and documentation.

Would an informal de jure standard be of any use? Like how TOML just has
a specification, but it’s somewhat usable as a standard because it’s
been pretty stable and because it’s written clearly enough.

DJ Chase
They, Them, Theirs

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