Re: [dev] Troff for typsetting e-mails

From: markus schnalke <>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2012 12:07:55 +0100

[2012-10-28 06:22] Christoph Lohmann <>
> as the subject says, I’m thinking of typesetting my e‐mail in troff.
> Anyone here has done something similar?

I have not done it before but as I like troff much I've thought about
doing so. Eventually, I have decided against it because I found the
complexity of the implementation and the email source text not worth
the result. What do you gain?

1) Text adjusted at both margins.
2) References at the end of the paragraph or at the end of
   the message.
3) Lists, blockquotes, etc.

The adjusting (1) would be appealing but I don't see much value in it
as I seldom write really long messages that would profit from it.
Well, for German text automatic hyphenation could improve the line-
breaking. Yet, I don't see enough improvement here.

References at the end (2) would be really cool but managing them
manually is not much overhead in my case.

Finally, automatic management of lists and the like (3) is nothing I
would profit much from.

The main disadvantage of troff postprocessing is the problem to send
verbatim text, e.g. source code. Lines starting with dot or single-
quote might not be a problem but backslashes are. There is no such
thing as a true verbatim environment as in TeX. Either you need to
handle the backslashes manually or you have to remap the backslash
character and enter ugly corners of troff. I've chosen the latter
option for my master's thesis. See the VS and VE macros in [0].


Further more, you need to handle quoted text in replies.

This is a short explanation of my POV on the topic. I am very
interested in the topic. Please keep me updated on your further
thoughts and actions.

Received on Sun Oct 28 2012 - 12:07:55 CET

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