Subject: Re: Compiling NetBSD with another compiler.
To: NetBSD User-Level Technical Discussion List <>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: tech-userlevel
Date: 10/05/2007 17:58:48
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At Fri, 5 Oct 2007 13:11:31 -0400, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
Subject: Re: Compiling NetBSD with another compiler.
> The real problem is that there's no convenient way to use traditional roff
> (as opposed to ditroff) to generate PostScript output

That hasn't been a problem since sometime in the 80's.  See Chris Lewis'
PSroff.  It's not the most ideal solution, and ditroff is preferred for
many reasons, but it's not exactly "inconvenient" :-)

> or output for the
> other printers supported by our in-tree groff.  Adobe had a dreadful hack
> that translated C/A/T typesetter language to PostScript but it's definite=
> not open-source and it's just the wrong approach besides.

That's more or less what PSroff does, but it is open source and it's
carefully tuned to adjust for the character positioning in C/A/T fonts
vs. that needed for common PS fonts.  PSroff can also drive HP-Laserjets
(i.e. it can generate PCL), plus various X11 previewers.

I do agree that it's the "wrong" approach, but mostly because the
original troff code is such a horrid mess, and because there are other
basic features besides unicode support in ditroff (and because the C/A/T
language is rather horrid and inflexible too).

> Unfortunately I think if you investigate the licensing on ditroff you will
> find that it is a quagmire (done as a separate project _not_ under any of
> the standard Unix licenses at AT&T, then with commercial rights sold to an
> outside entity).

It would still probably be worth the effort to figure out the status of
ditroff and if/how it could be properly open-sourced.  Maybe the AST
toolkit folks could help.

I wonder if SoftQuad might be interested in opening their variant of
ditroff (sqtroff) -- I might be able to find out.....  They might balk
at the licensing headache too though.

						Greg A. Woods

H:+1 416 218-0098 W:+1 416 489-5852 x122 VE3TCP RoboHack <>
Planix, Inc. <>       Secrets of the Weird <>

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