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Re: groff/-mandoc replacement

On Mon, Mar 09, 2009 at 06:03:38PM -0400, Thor Lancelot Simon wrote:
> > The various ditroff versions are somewhere around three times faster
> > than groff, which still makes an extreme difference.
> Have we ascertained that there's a free and portable ditroff yet?  It
> would be regrettable to revert to a C/A/T troff -- though I bet it's even
> faster.

Depends on your definition of free and portable. The original 4.4BSD
troff is covered by the Caldera 4-clause BSD license. Plan9 ditroff
falls under Lucent Public License (IIRC) and OpenSolaris/Heirloom
ditroff under CDDL. For various reasons, the Heirloom version is likely
the best, e.g. it supports some of the critical GNU extensions (like no
limit of 10 arguments) and has Unicode support. Plan9's ditroff needs
quite a bit of hacking to convert to Unix libc. 4.4BSD troff is ancient
and would need quite a bit of work as well.

> The huge performance difference would, itself, seem to me to be a
> persuasive reason to go to the trouble of adjusting the system to use
> mdoc{term,ml}for HTML or ASCII output from -mdoc output, and ditroff
> for everything else.  There's no mdocps, right?

At the moment, only the terminal frontend is really useful. For
printing, the best option seems to be to output either TeX or PDF, at
least for the moment.

From the non-mdoc man pages currently in the system, GCC, binutils, CVS
and the OpenSSL man pages are all generated using texinfo or pod2man.
It should be possible to get mdoc versions for those. That should
account for ~half of the non-mdoc man pages.


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