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Re: [Groff] Proper Small Caps.

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: Re: [Groff] Proper Small Caps.
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2024 02:49:43 -0600

Nine years seems like long enough to wait to resurrect this thread.

At 2015-01-20T19:57:25-0500, Doug McIlroy wrote:
> [Ralph Corderoy wrote:]
> > Thought it might be of interest given troff's long-time S\s-2MALL\s0
> > C\s-2APS\s0, especially used in the formatting of Unix.  IIRC, Dennis
> > Ritchie said they did it because the CAT gave them the possibility, but
> > it was regretted for the UNIX/Unix confusion it caused.
> I think this is urban legend. Small caps were not used in UNIX manuals or
> in the Bell System Technical Journal articles about UNIX. Fairly early on,
> we in the Unix lab began to treat Unix as a proper noun, but the lawyers
> had trademarked the uppercase name and got their way in many publications,
> including the books by Kernighan and Ritchie and Kernighan and Pike.
> U\s-2NIX\s0 was very rare, if it ever happened at all.

I have found a 48-year-old instance of it in the wild!

Al Kossow just this week uploaded his copy of a printed Sixth Edition
manual to Bitsavers.  The mixed-case-but-still-small-caps (mis-)usage occurs
in only place that I can see, on page 3.  This page of the manual was not
produced by the CSRC, but by "AT&TCo SPCS", and/or "the Unix Operating
System Generic, PGC-1C300, Issue 2".

So presumably C. D. Perez, who appears to claim responsibility for that
version of the document, was not familiar with the typographical
conventions of the Unix lab.

> I recoil from text infected with capital pox, and don't see small caps as
> much improvement. They do make sense in all-caps text, but sporadic
> S\s-2MALL\s0 C\s-2APS\s0 or anything like it is not a cure for the pox.


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