Tools for writers

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Tools for writers

Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
Hello,

What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)

I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)

Mich appreciated

 ~ols
--
Oliver Leaver-Smith
+44(0)114-360-1337
TZ=Europe/London
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Tools for writers

Christopher Turkel
For me OpenOffice works and of Focus Writer. I “won” NaNoWriMo using focus
writer.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, Oliver Leaver-Smith <[hidden email]>
wrote:

> Hello,
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean
> long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character
> development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same
> application necessarily)
>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything
> that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
>
> Mich appreciated
>
>  ~ols
> --
> Oliver Leaver-Smith
> +44(0)114-360-1337
> TZ=Europe/London
>
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Re: Tools for writers

Peter N. M. Hansteen-3
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2


> 2. nov. 2019 kl. 16:00 skrev Oliver Leaver-Smith <[hidden email]>:
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)
>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)

I really can’t speak to plot and character development, but all three editions of The Book of PF were written using OpenOffice and later LibreOffice write on OpenBSD snapshots.

Earlier versions of that manuscript were developed using DocBook SGML (editing with emacs), but the publisher (fortunately) did not want any truck with that.

For any new projects I would likely look half-heartedly for something markdown based but would probably end up going the LibreOffice route again.


Peter N. M. Hansteen, member of the first RFC 1149 implementation team
http://bsdly.blogspot.com/ http://www.bsdly.net/ http://www.nuug.no/
"Remember to set the evil bit on all malicious network traffic"
delilah spamd[29949]: 85.152.224.147: disconnected after 42673 seconds.




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Re: Tools for writers

Justin Noor
Mr. Hansteen what are your thoughts on Texlive?

On Sat, Nov 2, 2019 at 9:16 AM Peter Nicolai Mathias Hansteen <
[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> > 2. nov. 2019 kl. 16:00 skrev Oliver Leaver-Smith <[hidden email]>:
> >
> > What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I
> mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and
> character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all
> the same application necessarily)
> >
> > I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything
> that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
>
> I really can’t speak to plot and character development, but all three
> editions of The Book of PF were written using OpenOffice and later
> LibreOffice write on OpenBSD snapshots.
>
> Earlier versions of that manuscript were developed using DocBook SGML
> (editing with emacs), but the publisher (fortunately) did not want any
> truck with that.
>
> For any new projects I would likely look half-heartedly for something
> markdown based but would probably end up going the LibreOffice route again.
>
> —
> Peter N. M. Hansteen, member of the first RFC 1149 implementation team
> http://bsdly.blogspot.com/ http://www.bsdly.net/ http://www.nuug.no/
> "Remember to set the evil bit on all malicious network traffic"
> delilah spamd[29949]: 85.152.224.147: disconnected after 42673 seconds.
>
>
>
>
>
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Re: Tools for writers

STeve Andre'-2
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2


On 2019-11-02 11:00, Oliver Leaver-Smith wrote:

> Hello,
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)
>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
>
> Mich appreciated
>
>   ~ols
> --
> Oliver Leaver-Smith
> +44(0)114-360-1337
> TZ=Europe/London
>

/usr/bin/vi

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Re: Tools for writers

Antoine Jacoutot-7
On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:04:34PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:

>
>
> On 2019-11-02 11:00, Oliver Leaver-Smith wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)
> >
> > I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
> >
> > Mich appreciated
> >
> >   ~ols
> > --
> > Oliver Leaver-Smith
> > +44(0)114-360-1337
> > TZ=Europe/London
> >
>
> /usr/bin/vi

You obviously never wrote a book.
At least not with the requirements OP asked for.

--
Antoine

prx
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Re: Tools for writers

prx
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)
>
Hi,
Not sure for plot and characters.
I would recommend txt2tags [1], txtproc/txt2tags in ports.
There is also a more up-to-date version written in python3 (2], both works
fine.
It can convert txt2tags syntax in different formats, such as html or tex
(useful to get nice PDF).
The most interesting imho are :

- ``postproc`` and ``preproc`` instruction. Sort of ``#define`` in C or
``\newcommand`` in LaTeX. Very useful.
- ``include``. Also available in LaTeX.

Have a look at [3] for an example.
One might do markdown + sed + Makefile for the same result.

Using txt2tags, I wrote a ≈350 pages book in PDF [4] and maintain it for
a little more than two years now, very happy with txt2tags.

If txt2tags is not enough, then LaTeX is great, but requires to learn a
lot more to use it correctly.

Regards.

[1]: https://txt2tags.org/
[2]: https://github.com/jendrikseipp/txt2tags
[3]: https://framagit.org/prx/auto-hebergement-openbsd/blob/master/src/auto-hebergement-openbsd.t2t
[4]: https://ybad.name/ah/
--
    prx

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Re: Tools for writers

STeve Andre'-2
In reply to this post by Antoine Jacoutot-7


On 2019-11-02 15:07, Antoine Jacoutot wrote:

> On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:04:34PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:
>>
>>
>> On 2019-11-02 11:00, Oliver Leaver-Smith wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>>
>>> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same application necessarily)
>>>
>>> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
>>>
>>> Mich appreciated
>>>
>>>    ~ols
>>> --
>>> Oliver Leaver-Smith
>>> +44(0)114-360-1337
>>> TZ=Europe/London
>>>
>>
>> /usr/bin/vi
>
> You obviously never wrote a book.
> At least not with the requirements OP asked for. >

Actually, I am, right now.  I've found that "formatting" is an
annoyance, when writing material.  Get it written, *then* worry
about how it looks.  I've done this for more than 40 years when
creating documents, reports and such for work.

--STeve Andre'


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Re: Tools for writers

Oliver Leaver-Smith-2

>>> On 2 Nov 2019, at 19:17, STeve Andre' <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>>> On 2019-11-02 15:07, Antoine Jacoutot wrote:
>>>>> On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:04:34PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:
>>>> /usr/bin/vi
>>> You obviously never wrote a book.
>>> At least not with the requirements OP asked for. >
>> Actually, I am, right now.  I've found that "formatting" is an
>> annoyance, when writing material.  Get it written, *then* worry
>> about how it looks.  I've done this for more than 40 years when
>> creating documents, reports and such for work.
>>
>> --STeve Andre'
>
> I’m inclined to agree with you STeve. For the “writing words in a document” part, nothing beats a distraction-free experience that vi provides. For avoidance of doubt, my query was more around supporting the writing process (outlining, character development) and the formatting (like you say, an after thought most often)
>
> ~ols
> --
> Oliver Leaver-Smith
> +44(0)114-360-1337
> TZ=Europe/London
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Re: Tools for writers

Chris Bennett-4
In reply to this post by STeve Andre'-2
On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:16:22PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:

>
>
> On 2019-11-02 15:07, Antoine Jacoutot wrote:
> > You obviously never wrote a book.
> > At least not with the requirements OP asked for. >
>
> Actually, I am, right now.  I've found that "formatting" is an
> annoyance, when writing material.  Get it written, *then* worry
> about how it looks.  I've done this for more than 40 years when
> creating documents, reports and such for work.
>
> --STeve Andre'
>
>

Actually the OP said that not necessarily the same application.
I have to agree that writing the content and doing the formatting to be
two separate processes. I write in a furious stream of conciousness.
Looking at the formatting, etc. just impedes my work.
Spout out the thoughts. Then review content. Then work on formatting and
editing content.

/bin/ed

Then do the delicate work of editing and formatting after the creative
stream ends. Or creativity may be lost. Forever. Over seeing some
misspelled word or wrong punctuation.

Two or three different tools. Since there are really about three
processes being done that are quite different. For me, multitasking
sucks.

But, please, what is good for formatting? I don't have an answer for
that myself. I am considering writing as a new direction for myself.
Getting old sucks.

Chris Bennett


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Re: Tools for writers

Jordan Geoghegan-3

On 2019-11-02 13:18, Chris Bennett wrote:

> On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:16:22PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:
>>
>> On 2019-11-02 15:07, Antoine Jacoutot wrote:
>>> You obviously never wrote a book.
>>> At least not with the requirements OP asked for. >
>> Actually, I am, right now.  I've found that "formatting" is an
>> annoyance, when writing material.  Get it written, *then* worry
>> about how it looks.  I've done this for more than 40 years when
>> creating documents, reports and such for work.
>>
>> --STeve Andre'
>>
>>
> Actually the OP said that not necessarily the same application.
> I have to agree that writing the content and doing the formatting to be
> two separate processes. I write in a furious stream of conciousness.
> Looking at the formatting, etc. just impedes my work.
> Spout out the thoughts. Then review content. Then work on formatting and
> editing content.
>
> /bin/ed
>
> Then do the delicate work of editing and formatting after the creative
> stream ends. Or creativity may be lost. Forever. Over seeing some
> misspelled word or wrong punctuation.
>
> Two or three different tools. Since there are really about three
> processes being done that are quite different. For me, multitasking
> sucks.
>
> But, please, what is good for formatting? I don't have an answer for
> that myself. I am considering writing as a new direction for myself.
> Getting old sucks.
>
> Chris Bennett
>

You can't go wrong with LibreOffice. I've written thousands of pages
over the years with it. It may be too "heavy" for some, but for me, if
I'm doing something too complex for vi or mousepad, I just fire up
LibreOffice.

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Re: Tools for writers

Raymond, David
You might try lyx.  This is a front end for latex.  You can write
without worrying about formatting and come back to that later.  Also,
when you do the formatting, you don't have to worry about niggling
details as in word and its clones.  Just declare chapters, sections,
etc.

Lyx is an OpenBSD package.

Dave Raymond

On 11/2/19, Jordan Geoghegan <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 2019-11-02 13:18, Chris Bennett wrote:
>> On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:16:22PM -0400, STeve Andre' wrote:
>>>
>>> On 2019-11-02 15:07, Antoine Jacoutot wrote:
>>>> You obviously never wrote a book.
>>>> At least not with the requirements OP asked for. >
>>> Actually, I am, right now.  I've found that "formatting" is an
>>> annoyance, when writing material.  Get it written, *then* worry
>>> about how it looks.  I've done this for more than 40 years when
>>> creating documents, reports and such for work.
>>>
>>> --STeve Andre'
>>>
>>>
>> Actually the OP said that not necessarily the same application.
>> I have to agree that writing the content and doing the formatting to be
>> two separate processes. I write in a furious stream of conciousness.
>> Looking at the formatting, etc. just impedes my work.
>> Spout out the thoughts. Then review content. Then work on formatting and
>> editing content.
>>
>> /bin/ed
>>
>> Then do the delicate work of editing and formatting after the creative
>> stream ends. Or creativity may be lost. Forever. Over seeing some
>> misspelled word or wrong punctuation.
>>
>> Two or three different tools. Since there are really about three
>> processes being done that are quite different. For me, multitasking
>> sucks.
>>
>> But, please, what is good for formatting? I don't have an answer for
>> that myself. I am considering writing as a new direction for myself.
>> Getting old sucks.
>>
>> Chris Bennett
>>
>
> You can't go wrong with LibreOffice. I've written thousands of pages
> over the years with it. It may be too "heavy" for some, but for me, if
> I'm doing something too complex for vi or mousepad, I just fire up
> LibreOffice.
>
>


--
David J. Raymond
[hidden email]
http://physics.nmt.edu/~raymond

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Re: Tools for writers

Marc Chantreux
In reply to this post by Jordan Geoghegan-3
hello,

> You can't go wrong with LibreOffice. I've written thousands of pages over
> the years with it. It may be too "heavy" for some, but for me, if I'm doing
> something too complex for vi or mousepad, I just fire up LibreOffice.

to me there is no such thing that is too complex for the unix documentation
toolchain that you can achieve with libreoffice. i feel the other way
around: libreoffice is always a bad choice:

* when i need a rich good looking document in which you can
  easily add graphical material of very different nature (music cheets,
  chemical or math formula, gantt graph, ...), then

  [your editor of choice] + pandoc + git + latex + tikz + gnuplot + graphviz + m4

  is really the best thing i found

* if you need interactivity and animation (which isn't my case): the web is there
  (i personally use pandoc + pug + livescript (to be replaced by elm) +
  stylus)

the only one case where libreoffice is the good choice is if you mind
the learning curve but writting a book is a long process, pay the bill
at first to be more peaceful later seems to be a good deal to me.

regards.
marc

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Re: Tools for writers

Jordan Geoghegan-3

On 2019-11-02 15:54, Marc Chantreux wrote:

> hello,
>
>> You can't go wrong with LibreOffice. I've written thousands of pages over
>> the years with it. It may be too "heavy" for some, but for me, if I'm doing
>> something too complex for vi or mousepad, I just fire up LibreOffice.
> to me there is no such thing that is too complex for the unix documentation
> toolchain that you can achieve with libreoffice. i feel the other way
> around: libreoffice is always a bad choice:
>
> * when i need a rich good looking document in which you can
>    easily add graphical material of very different nature (music cheets,
>    chemical or math formula, gantt graph, ...), then
>
>    [your editor of choice] + pandoc + git + latex + tikz + gnuplot + graphviz + m4
>
>    is really the best thing i found
>
> * if you need interactivity and animation (which isn't my case): the web is there
>    (i personally use pandoc + pug + livescript (to be replaced by elm) +
>    stylus)
>
> the only one case where libreoffice is the good choice is if you mind
> the learning curve but writting a book is a long process, pay the bill
> at first to be more peaceful later seems to be a good deal to me.
>
> regards.
> marc
>

Fair enough, I have no issue with using the various unix tools for
making documents, but for my use case, LibreOffice has treated me well.
I primarily use it for simple things like putting together invoices,
writing articles, rendering documents to PDF or postscript, and reading
.docx files people send me. I'm sure there's a superior way to do all
this, but I'm lazy and I like some of the more mundane features of
LibreOffice like being able to render a document to postscript and then
print to the printer I have specified in my /etc/printcap file as well
as .docx format support for when I have to collaborate with average
people. I've thought about learning latex and mandoc and all the fancy
tools, but I've just never gotten around to it.

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Re: Tools for writers

Ingo Schwarze
Hi Jordan,

Jordan Geoghegan wrote on Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 05:44:23PM -0700:

> I've thought about learning latex and mandoc and all the fancy
> tools, but I've just never gotten around to it.

Actually, both mandoc(1) and mdoc(7) are off-topic in this thread.
You cannot use either for writing a book, neither the mdoc(7)
language nor the mandoc(1) program supports any of the important
features.

That said, the obvious answer for the OP is of course the
"textproc/groff" port (disclosure: which i maintain).  The roff(7)
language and the troff programm is what people in the UNIX world
always used for writing books and journal articles, and it is very
much alive even after the roff language celebrated its 55th birthday
this year.  I'm in the habit of using it to prepare slides for
conference talks (with textproc/gpresent), for example, and i'm not
the only only one.

The "textproc/heirloom-doctools" port is a serious contender for a
top-quality typesetting system (though not recommended as a manual
page viewer).  In some finer points of typography, it is better
than groff; for example, it supports paragraph-at-once filling.
But admittedly, groff is more actively maintained, so unless you
know exactly why you prefer Heirloom troff, i'd suggest you try
groff first.

And finally, the only thing that is seriously wrong with
the "print/texlive" port is how ridiculously large it is.
All the same, i used it often to write journal articles,
letters, invoices, and the like, and still use it now and then.

As long as you only *use* macro packages, groff is *much*
easier to use than LaTeX (not least because the quality of
documentation of groff is vastly superior to LaTeX, and LaTeX
documentation is so extremely huge and fragmented that it's
a terrible challenge to find anything you need).

But once you start modifying macro packages or writing your own
macros, i.e. once you enter into real programming, then it turns
out LaTeX is easier to program than roff(7) because the syntax and
semantics of the low-level roff(7) language are, let's put it
politely, quite unusual and surprising in many details.  I know
that because i did write a non-trivial LaTeX module and because i
do maintain one of the larger roff macro packages, upstream at
groff, and besides, i did implement considerable parts of the roff
language in /usr/src/usr.bin/mandoc/roff.c.

Most certainly, it is *much* easier to get good typography out
of groff or LaTeX (no matter which one) than out of LibreOffice
or any similar abomination.

Yours,
  Ingo

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Re: Tools for writers

Predrag Punosevac-2
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
On 2019-11-02 11:00, Oliver Leaver-Smith wrote:

> Hello,
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I
> mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and
> character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all
> the same application necessarily)
>

For writing you need a text editor. I like nvi 1.79

/usr/bin/vi

due to its predictability as I agree that Vim sucks

http://www.galexander.org/vim_sucks.html

nvi is in the base :-) Unfortunately yacc was "depreciated" on Linux in
favor of bison so good luck compiling nvi. I have never been able to
pull that one on Red Hat 7.

Now typesetting is whole another story. In old good times a writter will
bring her/his manuscript to a publishing company where qualified
individuals would apply typographic rules, enforce standards, and do
graphics design before sending things to the typesetter. IMHO
letterpress is still the gold standard and nothing comes close to it.
However people moved to phototype first and digital to cut the cost.
Cutting cost came with the price. Quality sucks but I guess if you have
never had a letterpress book in your hands you will not know it.

I am guessing you want a computerized solution but you are not a
typesetter nor designer and you need some assistance to impose format on
the text. Essentially you have two classes of solutions.

1. You will need to use some kind logical markup and enter the mixture
of text and commands. In this case typography is embedded into the
source file.

2. You want some super clever program to do typesetting for you.

You are in luck my friend. If you chose solution one all four
typesetting systems in existence are ported and can be found in OpenBSD
ports. I am listing them in the chronological order.

a. Troff (Please see GNU Troff aka. Groff from the ports)
b. TeX (LaTeX is just a set of macros but you can also use key-value
driven ConTeXt)
c. Lout
d. To typeset music use LilyPond.


If you chose second option there is only one solution I am aware of. It
is Brian K. Reid Scribe. Brian used to work here at Carnegie Mellon
University many years before my time. After failing to make millions he
essentially left his code to his assistant and  my good friend/co-worker
Dale Moore who still has a working copy. I am not sure if we can get
Scribe to the ports three but for private use should be Ok. I can check
with Dale on Monday.

>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything
> that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et
> al.)
>

I am not sure what you have found out but I will tell you a little
secret. No matter what you chose these days your publisher if you have
one will convert your document into XML as it is the most convenient
format for electronic safekeeping.

Just to complete this little write up. I am not oblivious to GUI word
processors (which typically store things in Rich Text Format (RTF), a
Microsoft take onto the TeX). The only problem with them is that they
don't change the fact that people who don't know typographic rules can't
become experts on typography just because they can drug text with the
mouse and click left and right. That is why I personally use LaTeX
(typography built in packages) instead of key-value driven ConTeXt. If
you must use word processor you are again in luck with OpenBSD. OpenBSD
still has the first open source office suite in its ports tree (Siag)
and while I still use SIAG spreadsheet my exposure to Pathetic Writer
(PW) is only rudimentary. I heard a good things about Ted from people
who like RTF

Finally I have tried a numerous lightweight markup languages but only
found txt2tags to be useful. Keep in mind that using txt2tags+htmldoc to
produce pdf document will produce horrible document as there is no line
breaking algorithm equivalent of famous TeX algorithm. Getting nicer
output from txt2tags will inevitable lead to embedding so much LaTeX
code into your txt2tags that you will start wondering why are you using
txt2tags to begin with.


Cheers,
Predrag


Cheers,
Predrag


> Mich appreciated
>
>  ~ols
> --
> Oliver Leaver-Smith
> +44(0)114-360-1337
> TZ=Europe/London

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Re: Tools for writers

Tomasz Rola
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 03:00:28PM +0000, Oliver Leaver-Smith wrote:

> Hello,
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing
> I mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot
> and character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing
> (not all the same application necessarily)
>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really
> anything that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the
> obvious LaTeX et al.)
>
> Mich appreciated
>
>  ~ols

I am not sure what is your ability to learn tools - no offence, but
some people want to have it as WYSIWIG, period, and I am mostly ok
about it (as long as they also do their cleaning). However, my unholy
opinion is, if you plan for your words to be readable with the least
problem say, twenty years from now, then you should stick with text
based formats for, er, text and learn few tools that can process such
format.

So,

 - LaTeX for writing a book

It is possible to have parts of a text in various files, which can be
included into main file - various ways of developing plot, etc. It is
possible to have many versions of same book, including chapters into
them as separate files. And so on. I am not sure if a writer actually
needs this much flexibility, but a lot is possible if you would like
to mess with different ways to organize a book.

 - Emacs for editor

This part is tricky, but I definitely prefer Emacs. Some prefer Vim
and I agree it is very fine editor, but myself, I go with Emacs. I
stay away from anything web based, browser based and Javascript
based. All of those look like ticking bombs to me. When they go (not
an unlikely event, IMHO) those depending on them are left to
freeze. Or they will be dying a death of thousand worms loaded from
some far away countries in their just-updated JS library.

 - Org mode for plot/characters and stuff

Org mode is kind of program running inside Emacs (not really, but do I
want to delve into talking about Lisp, loadable code and programmable
editors). Or, it is a way to have one's own personal wiki in a file,
without the need for web server and whatnot. Very handy, if you ask
me.

All those are tools and require some learning. In my case, I read a
tutorial built into Emacs (say, an hour of reading + learning to press
right keys), I read some chapters from Leslie Lamport book on LaTeX
(say, maybe few hours of trying stuff inside Emacs and producing
documents with it). As of Org-mode, I caught some basics and started
going, then caught some more and there is still 98% or more to learn,
but as I do not have to, I just use what I know and keep going.

There are few more tools which might be useful for above case.

 - pandoc for converting from LaTeX to ODT (i.e. Open Office) - I have
   not used it but some people say it works

 - version control - whatever is easier, I have just set my own
   org-mode based "wiki" into RCS. RCS is amongst the oldest such
   system still in use, but I did not wanted to mess with other
   things, for a while. Now, if I make a mistake, press wrong key
   combo and delete half of my wiki, I might have better chance to
   recover from this error. There are many version control systems to
   choose from, I think most will work locally on your computer
   without prematurely exposing the book to the outside world.

This email was written in Emacs, BTW. I get easy formatting for free.

Of course, tools have quirks. I think so. I got used to them and
forgot, so I am unable to say more about this. So maybe the learning
experience will not be peachy rosy for you at first, but I would say
positives prevail over time.

HTH

--
Regards,
Tomasz Rola

--
** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:[hidden email]             **

adr
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Re: Tools for writers

adr
In reply to this post by Predrag Punosevac-2
>> Hello,
>>
>> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I
>> mean long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and
>> character development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all
>> the same application necessarily)

I agree with the majority of people here, use a text editor you
are comfortable with. I use nvi, I've tryed a lot, but I always go
back to nvi. Remember that the version in base doesn't have unicode
support.  One that almost got me was the new fork of nedit:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/xnedit/

My advise is to think about your layout, how people are going to
read your work, and then "mark" that layout in a plain text
file, using spaces, labels, etc.  Write freely, without being
distracted by strange lines and your text being transformed while
you are typing it, lags... oh man, I don't know why people like
those monstrosities, but a lot of people love them so maybe something
is wrong with me!.  Use key bindings to search for words, translations,
synonymous, local dictionaries, whatever. Use the tools your OS
already have.

Then, at the end, choose a formatter that fits you, or the one that
your publisher ask you for, if any.  I prefer troff than TeX/LaTeX.
In my opinion, the latter has become a chaos.  The last time I used
it (more than a decade ago) it was still compiled by a generator
of C code from pascal sources, and then the "distribution" grew
from it like that story about alien plants from Creepshow. If you
have to use it, I remember one distribution on Plan9, kerTeX IIRC,
it was in unix also, way more compact. I prefer heirloom troff.
Very small, very easy to use fonts and non English hyphenation and
it feels more unix to me, I suppose it is just a matter of taste.
The last time I was in the groff mailing list (they shared it nicely
with heirloom troff users) they were working on a macro "mom" to
make life easier to writers. I prefer using troff directly, but
you can give it a try, it should be mature now.

Make a script that creates an input for your formatter from your
plain file, using your labels, spaces, etc, so if you need to use
another formatter, you don't have to touch your work, just make
another script. Just an advise.

I enjoyed this book back at the time. Now is not only open, but
you have also the groff source, so you can see how is the book
itself developed. I think that you can pick a lot of good ideas
from it, and it shows you how to use and combine the tools you
already have, that is, the unix philosophy.

https://www.oreilly.com/openbook/utp/

P.S.

I read someone recommending lilypond for typesetting music.
The output is beautiful, and if you are familiar with lisp
you'll be familiar with its guts. But I prefer these:

This is a new version of RISC OS pms:

https://sourceforge.net/p/philip-s-music-writer/

I discovered this some time ago by chance, and now I have
to make a choice:

http://www.Arkkra.com/

Both of them are small C programs, almost no dependencies,
beautiful output and easy input syntax.

Regards,
adr

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Re: Tools for writers

john slee
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
I really like Markdown for actual writing, because its markup for logical
structure is quite low-key and non-distracting, and (unlike *roff or LaTeX)
it also reads pretty well in source form. Tables are fairly annoying,
particularly if I later have to insert a column in mid table.

Use whatever editor works best for you. I use Vim because when I switched
from Emacs back in 1999 my wrist problems disappeared almost overnight, a
consequence of replacing almost all of the multi-key combinations with
single keystrokes. If not for the physiological consequences I would
probably still be using Emacs, or an emacslike such as jed or mg.

Frankly I think it’s a bit weird that so many people are using an editor
with key mappings expressly designed for a (Space Cadet) keyboard that few
people ever had even seen in real life, never mind actually used. But
evidently people cope just fine. That’s good, I guess?

John



On Sun, Nov 3, 2019 at 02:07 Oliver Leaver-Smith <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hello,
>
> What tools do people find useful for writing on OpenBSD? By writing I mean
> long form such as novels and technical books, including plot and character
> development, outlining, and formatting for publishing (not all the same
> application necessarily)
>
> I have found a number which boast Linux support, but not really anything
> that stands out which supports OpenBSD (aside from the obvious LaTeX et al.)
>
> Mich appreciated
>
>  ~ols
> --
> Oliver Leaver-Smith
> +44(0)114-360-1337
> TZ=Europe/London
>
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Re: Tools for writers

Marc Chantreux
In reply to this post by Jordan Geoghegan-3
> documents, but for my use case, LibreOffice has treated me well. I primarily
> use it for simple things like putting together invoices, writing articles,
> rendering documents to PDF or postscript, and reading .docx files people
> send me.

> I'm sure there's a superior way to do all this,

there is no such thing as a "superior way", there are way that fit your
expectations: i wasn't trying to convince you to use anything else that
please you but i really think toolchain that uses latex as core offers
much more opportunity than a libreoffice ones and would like to mention
it if it can help.

regards

> I have to collaborate with average people. I've thought about learning latex
> and mandoc and all the fancy tools, but I've just never gotten around to it.

I wasn't talking about mandoc but pandoc (https://pandoc.org/): you
write most of the things just using markdown format and add latex
instructions whenever you want. this way, you keep simple things simple
but you keep the power of latex under the wood.

regards
marc

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