[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 12:58:32 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Tue, Mar 18, 2014, Pierre-Jean wrote:
> Nonetheless, I think that if the goal is to publish this
> mission statement in the hope that it encourages people to
> join the groff community, a bit more of « writing art » will
> be needed: words that encourage someone to come and work on
> groff.

I agree with you about the need for something less dry.  See further
on.  For the purposes of a mission statement, I tacked a note beside
my monitor that said, "Avoid hucksterism."  IOW, don't use the
mission statement as selling job.

> Werner spoke about the clean codebase of groff, we could
> also mention our experienced community and the precedence of
> Knuth and Kernighan algorythms. The mention of some
> "mentors" might also be important if some students whish to
> work on groff. Last but not least, the Gnu project might
> have some kind of help to give to groff developpers.
> That kind of literacy should probably be part of another
> document.

Which document I will write, if others support the idea, and add to
the groff page along with the mission statement.  For all our
discussions, our real mission right now is to get coders.  We're all
very good at our own bits and pieces of the groff picture,
but none of us, I believe, is prepared to do the kind of C++
open-heart surgery we're proposing.  As both Gunnar and Werner have
reminded us, it's a BIG job.

If I may muse here, briefly...

I'm sick to death of groff always being the "also ran" to TeX.

As every one of us knows, groff is terrific typesetting system,
capable of tremendous flexibility and, with the right set of macros,
wonderfully writer-friendly.  Yet I'm fairly certain we've all
encountered the "You did *that* with groff?!" reaction a time or

Ignorance about groff as a complete typesetting system is
practically pandemic.  After five editions, O'Reilly's _Running
Linux_ still demonstrates groff usage with a tutorial on writing
manpages.  And recently, I came upon this parenthetical comment at
the Simon Fraser University site:

 "(I have a weirdly retrotech idea that we could do typesetting with
   groff.  For regular prose, groff is every bit as powerful as TeX,
   while being about one tenth the size and complexity.)"

If groff is as powerful as TeX while being one tenth the size,
why on earth does the author dismiss it out-of-hand as weirdly

My feeling is that if groff can go head-to-head with TeX
typographically, specifically wrt paragraph formatting, then we're
in a much better position to combat the attitude implicit in
comments like the one above and promote groff as a *contemporary*
solution for typesetting needs.

> And I need some insurance that the man project is not such a
> "cheval de Troie". These insurances might be:
> - Don't forget the existing mdoc markup, [a]
> - Study several solutions,               [b]

[b] entails [a], methinks, and [b] is already taking place.

> - Don't use tricks to force the usage of that new markup

That's not going to happen.

> - Show a draft of the whole project.

Since Eric's taking leading on this, I imagine he'll do just that
once debates are resolved and ideas have finished percolating.

Peter Schaffter

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]