Re: [dev] Troff for typsetting e-mails

From: Luis Anaya <>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2012 11:18:43 -0400

Bjartur Thorlacius <> writes:

> Christoph Lohmann wrote:
>> as the subject says, I’m thinking of typesetting my e‐mail in troff.

> I have never done that; I use plain UTF-8. But are you talking about
> writing email in troff and converting it to HTML? Or what makes email
> special, aside from the convention to use plain text instead of
> typeset?

Most of the folks here have question the reason to do so. I personally
found it intriguing, but certainly I need to understand what is the
purpose on using T/Groff for emails. HTML is the most "logical"
approach for formatting. But I do not see what are you gaining.

Some background, I've used Troff since '87 and I'm familiar with the MM
macros. I wrote the Groff exporter for org-mode. I think that I know a
bit of writing Groff documents.


Kurt stated, how come you do not use HTML in itself? and "pancake"
questioned why not use Markdown. I ask the same. Why?

Let's look at some examples:

.\" In MM.
.H1 "Heading"
This is the start of a paragraph.
.LI Numeric List Item
.LI Numeric List Item
This is another paragraph.
after a line break.

This would be processed as groff -Thtml -pet -mm > output.html
to produce an HTML output.

Would it be harder than typing?

<h1> Heading </h1>
This is the start of a paragraph
<li> Numeric list item</li>
<li> Numeric list item </li>
This is another paragraph
after the line break

Looking at the similar structure, I do not think that it would be that
different. The real value of Groff is producing camera ready documents
that can be written in different medium.

I can see the case of typesetting math being that EQN is a lot more
saner than MathML. However being that the majority of the typesetters
use LaTeX and their syntax, you could use that one as well if you're
more familiar with it.

Table creation is a toss up, but HTML is not that difficult to type as

So, the question is. What's the requirement? What are you trying to
accomplish with this?


Luis Anaya
papo anaya aroba hot mail punto com
"Do not use 100 words if you can say it in 10" - Yamamoto Tsunetomo
Received on Sun Oct 28 2012 - 16:18:43 CET

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