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Re: "Writing my PhD using groff"

From: Larry McVoy
Subject: Re: "Writing my PhD using groff"
Date: Sat, 23 Jul 2022 18:30:22 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.24 (2015-08-30)

On Sat, Jul 23, 2022 at 08:07:22PM -0500, G. Branden Robinson wrote:
> At 2022-07-24T10:08:59+1000, Alexis wrote:
> > Just came across this, thought people here might appreciate it:
> > 
> > "Quality was not the only way in which groff surprised me: it has
> > serious speed too, especially in comparison to LaTeX ...
> > 
> > "In fact, many of the advantages of using groff are the same as LaTeX,
> > but with the added advantage of speed and simplicity. Just like with
> > LaTeX, you can dive into the code to change a macro but, unlike LaTeX,
> > I have found Mom???s macros fairly understandable and not nested ten
> > layers deep in some ancient package ...
> > 
> > "Below a sample of the in???progress PhD. I don???t want laggy Word and
> > inconsistent styling issues. I don???t want KOMA-Script woes and
> > minutes???long compile times. I want something simple that works:
> > groff!"
> > 
> > --
> Good stuff!  Thank you for sharing.
> I will also note that Peter Schaffter's mom macro package is singled out
> for praise.  (He reads this list.)

I've said this before but perhaps not here.  If I'm repeating myself
someone kick me a little.

I was program committee chair for Linux Expo in 1999.  Sounds like I was
a big deal but what it really meant was I had to format the proceedings
(I was not a big deal, just someone willing to do work).  LaTex had
won by then, but not in my mind, so I encouraged people to use groff,
I said it is faster, easier, just try it.

One of the people that tried groff came up to me and told me how great
groff was, how easy it was, how fast it, how much they liked more
than LaTex.

Sadly, almost all of the papers were submitted in LaTex.  I think the
reasons were (a) the two pass thing so you could easily do a table of
contents and (b) troff was locked up and the docs were locked for a
long time.

I'm a huge roff fan, I've used it for decades.  I ran a successful
Silicon Valley firm that did our contract in troff because troff has
if statements.  So I had a troff doc that had if Intel, do this, if HP,
do this, if free users do this.  Etc.  That contract got me $10.5 million
at the end of our run, so go troff.

I actually got our lawyer at Fenwick and West to use troff source to
work on that contract.  He was smart, once he got it, he was asking how
he could do this in Word.

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