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Re: Generating pdf in base

On Sat, 5 Jul 2014 20:08:02 +0000
David Holland <> wrote:

> Another possibility is to write a PDF driver for the groff we have.
> This is still work, but possibly not that much (e.g. maybe one could
> rewrite the upstream gplv3 Perl groff driver in Lua...); 

Translation from Perl to C++ is straightforward.  A couple of years
ago, as an experiment, I re-coded the examples from the Camel book in 
C++.  When C++ is supplied with appropriate libraries (simple things
that I wrote myself) the converted linecount is roughly 1:1.  That
would be a 3200-line gropdf written in C++.  

(The only exception was Perl's eval, decidedly non-trivial in C++!)  

I participate in the groff list and admire what Deri James hath
wrought.  If there is interest here, I could broach the subject of
whether a C++ version would be acceptable upstream.  I'm not
volunteering, but I do think it would make  a nice SoC project.  

> on the other hand the artefact it produces is of limited long-term
> value. And it's not like groff is doing a super job of typesetting
> the articles... 

Which is the worst one, in your opinion?   I guess I haven't read every
one, because I don't remember any typesetting problems.  

You mention semantic markup more than once, as though it's valuable.
What do you hope to do with it?  As far as I'm concerned it's a lost
cause *and* unimportant.  The promise of "write one, render anywhere"
remains, after two decades, unfulfilled.  Once you acknowledge that, the
use of -ms seems downright precient.  

> and there's long been a desire to kick groff out of base.

I don't understand the desire to kick groff out of base unless it's to
be replaced by heirloom troff.  I realize troff qua troff is not
fashionable anymore but, then, neither is NetBSD, er, anymore.   

I'm not interested in a markup-language tug of war.  I declare flatly
that no equivalent to groff exists.  For one, show me the equivalent of
pic.  For two, show me a graphing package with a built-in typesetter.  

By the way, groff recently added an implementation of the IDEAL
language, an intriguing improvement on its successors, bar none.  


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