Re: [dev] Troff for typsetting e-mails

From: Christoph Lohmann <>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2012 17:37:27 +0100


On Sun, 28 Oct 2012 17:37:27 +0100 Luis Anaya <> wrote:
> 1. This deserves some explanation:
> If you were going to translate Troff commands for email , would you
> typeset these into...
> [...]
> d. Text - Looking at man pages, it adds a lot of terminal commands, it
> would not look nice in email.

Well, only needed is a subset to align text on a line, add some lines,
format a table in UTF‐8 characters, do some lists, maybe handle the ref‐
erences automatically in an e‐mail friendly way. Troff has implemented
much more than a simple hack would approach.

> e. HTML that's probably the "better" choice to typeset *output* for
> email from troff considering the alternatives.

No, never. HTML is ugly, has too many side‐effects, does not have just
two‐character commands, like most of troff has and it requires a whole
day to align right. Next will be people wanting CSS, Javascript and
video files. If you add features for stupid users you will get stupid
> Yes, "but why don't you write in plain text". Good question.

Because running a justify script using troff is faster than me adding
the whitespaces manually.

> >> On Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 01:21:40PM +0100, hiro wrote:
> >> > typesetting? raw text can be typeset just fine with a keyboard. not
> >> > sure what you're really up to.
> >> >
> >>
> >> It is suckless answer to HTML email.
> >>
> > It might as well *be* HTML email.
> Because it is. A rose of any other name is...

Adding HTML anywhere is not nice to the reader. You *need* a webbrowser,
which sucks up the CPU, RAM, yout time, space and lifetime. Every devel‐
oper implementing forced HTML frontends should be charged for the damage
they did to the environment – for the rest of their life. The next prob‐
lem is, like said above, that HTML sucks in too many dependencies people
will want to have. I have never seen any troff5 effort to add video and
audio markup; which is a good thing.

I’ve heard the first »software complexity crime against humanity«
charges have been brought up in front of The Hague.


Christoph Lohmann
Received on Sun Oct 28 2012 - 17:37:27 CET

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