Re: [dev] Suckless word processing solution?

From: pancake <>
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 2009 13:51:09 +0200

How can somebody say that Word 5.5 is the best ever word processor?

I was much more productive in wordstar those days. But this software is
dead, old, privative, closed and retarded.

If we want a minimalist word we should call it 'sylab', and it is kinda
big project,
if we want runtime rendering of the document the problem is exponentially
difficult if we want to do it in an optimal way by using unix concepts
of pipes
and so, because it is

Vi and Vim are pretty good programs, but Vi lacks functionality and Vim
is bloated.
(no need to talk about emacs which is conceptually good, but fucking
bloated in
practice). But they aims to be just editors, not wysiwyg typesetting
word processors.

For most of cases I find the two-steps word processing much more
effective than
using the wysiwig editor directly, because the text keeps a single
format and it is
easier to read and process by other scripts.

The bad of troff is the difference between GNU and the original one and
the obscurity
of their macros. Another thing that I dislike from it is that
typesetting rules are going
to break the simplicity of your text. This is like

At the end, my current typesetting is based on troff for writing
manpages, html with
slidy for slides (viewing them with surf) and halibut for serious
business (but it lacks
picture support).

With halibut I have the most common text processing requeriments covered
a simple formatting text and multiple output formats (pdf, html, text, ...)

If I want to see another typesetting system on the earth this should be
like halibut,
but allowing better page formatting options (to be able to do slides),
background color, put pictures and probably simplify some options.

Another really silly thing in typesetting is the support of text
encodings, I hate utf8,
but I would certainly prefer to just use utf8 to avoid having lot of
encodings loaded in memory.

This is what I have in mind:
   * ed (text editor that can be used by other programs)
   * ved (visual mode for vim, but using ed, indent, etc.. that is
   reimplement the basics of visual text editor using ed and other
scripts as backend)
   * format conversor (parses text and outputs formatted ps, pdf, html, txt)

I know that troff can do the trick of format processing, but I probably
lack the
knowledge of how to properly use it, but it will be nice if the troff
gurus of the
list can broadcast tips and macros.

About ved i prefer text mode, because my X environment is based on
xterms, some
of the local and some of them remote, and I dislike the idea of
depending on graphical
environments to get distracted on icons and fancy transparencies.

Ncurses is an ugly library, but it is ported to many systems and not
necessarily in
text environments, so this can be the trick to process a text buffer in
an efficient way.


Anselm R Garbe wrote:
> 2009/9/29 Kris Maglione <>:
>> On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 04:06:16PM +0100, Anselm R Garbe wrote:
>>> I'm looking for such thing as well. On IRC in the #suckless channel
>>> someone posted a link to Word 5.5 just now, I think that might be an
>>> option for the interim. I think Word 5.5 is the most usable MS Word
>>> release ever created, it definately sucks less than any FOSS
>>> alternative. But I'm uneasy on relying it in the long term.
>> I think Corel was a lot better than Word in the Office 5 days.
> Hmm, I'm not too sure that by the time when Word 5.5[1] was created
> "Office" existed at all... I thought that "Office" branding was a
> later invention, but I might be wrong.
> [1]
> Kind regards,
> Anselm
Received on Thu Oct 01 2009 - 11:51:09 UTC

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