Tools for writers

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Re: Tools for writers

Yon-2
Hi,

On Sun, Nov 03, 2019 at 02:29:02AM +0100, Ingo Schwarze wrote:

> 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.
I actually wrote a semantic markup language shamelessly
inspired from mdoc(7) and with simplified roff-like syntax,
called “gofrundis” (actual tool is spelled frundis(1)),
but primarily intented for authoring novels.  It exports to
LaTeX, HTML/EPUB or groff mom, and is documented using
mdoc(7).

That said, even though the language has quite silently
existed for several years, excluding me it still has only
two regular users as far as I know.  The consequence is that
there's not a community providing extension packages for it:
anything not covered by the core language frundis_syntax(5)
requires you to write some code in LaTeX, HTML or roff/mom
and wrap it with macros. It's somewhat extensible, and I
used it to write a thesis and export afterwards to LaTeX,
because I find the syntax and semantics simpler and more
pleasant to use. But I'm not sure I would recommend such non
standard use.

Yon

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*roff and page layout ? (Re: Tools for writers)

Marc Chantreux
In reply to this post by Ingo Schwarze
> the "print/texlive" port is how ridiculously large it is.

because it comes with the whole distribution. i never tested but
https://tectonic-typesetting.github.io/ seems to fix it by downloading
stuff on demand. however, another problem with tex is performance.
troff is blazing fast. however...

> "textproc/groff" port (disclosure: which i maintain).  The roff(7)
> The "textproc/heirloom-doctools" port is a serious contender for a
...

i tried nroff long time ago so i tried to create templates for memos and
letters with layouts where:

A is company logo and info
B is for metainfo about the current letter
C is the actual body

┌─────┐┌─────┐
│A    ││B    │
└─────┘└─────┘
┌────────────┐
│ C          │
└────────────┘

┌─┐┌─────┐
│A││C    │
│B││     │
│ ││     │
│ ││     │
└─┘└─────┘

i tried both of those (you can achieve this with latex minipages) but i
never made it work so i gave out.

did i miss a fine didactic documentation about it ?

regards
marc

ps: i think it was the plan9 troff,

> 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).

well ... i have to admit i tried harder with LaTeX but thanks to
CTAN, i reached the point when i know what are the classes and packages
i need (mostly article, book, beamer and tikz).

there is no CTAN for troff and that's a missing part.

> 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 love the way you're saying that. is there a document to dive into it ?

> groff, and besides, i did implement considerable parts of the roff
> language in /usr/src/usr.bin/mandoc/roff.c.

nice. thank you for mandoc!

regards
marc

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Re: Tools for writers

Xiánwén Chén
In reply to this post by Marc Chantreux
Dear Marc,

> 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.

Does _pandoc_ work on OpenBSD now?

Yours sincerely,
Xianwen

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Re: Tools for writers

U'll Be King of the Stars
On 03/11/2019 12:44, Xianwen Chen (陈贤文) wrote:
> Does _pandoc_ work on OpenBSD now?

Pandoc doesn't work on OpenBSD?  This is seriously a bit of a shock.

It is one of the most useful tools I have ever used.  If you are writing
any sort of documentation then I *highly* recommend checking it out on a
platform where is does work.

Andrew
--
OpenPGP key: EB28 0338 28B7 19DA DAB0  B193 D21D 996E 883B E5B9

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Re: Tools for writers

Marc Chantreux
In reply to this post by Xiánwén Chén
hello,

> Does _pandoc_ work on OpenBSD now?

i realized i haven't try on BSD as my desktop remains a linux for the
moment. sorry i lost the focus because of this very appealing thread.

regards
marc

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Re: Tools for writers

Xiánwén Chén
Dear Mr. Chantreux,

> i realized i haven't try on BSD as my desktop remains a linux for the
> moment. sorry i lost the focus because of this very appealing thread.

My substitute for _pandoc_ is the _org-mode_ of emacs, which is for some
people also good for outlining etc.

But I miss _pandoc_.

Yours sincerely,
Xianwen

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Re: Tools for writers

Karl Pettersson-2
In reply to this post by Xiánwén Chén
On Sun, Nov 03, 2019 at 01:44:20PM +0100, Xianwen Chen (陈贤文) wrote:
> Dear Marc,
>
> > 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.
>
> Does _pandoc_ work on OpenBSD now?

I have built Pandoc on OpenBSD a couple of times: latest was in 2017.
However, it can be sensitive to the GHC version used, and I have not
bulit it using Stack. There are people who report building it in 2018,
after some tweaking.

https://github.com/jgm/pandoc/issues/4940

>
> Yours sincerely,
> Xianwen
>

Sincerely

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Re: Tools for writers

Xiánwén Chén
In reply to this post by Ingo Schwarze
Dear Mr. Schwarze,

> 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.

I am interested in giving _groff_ and _gpresent_ a try. I am seasoned
LaTeX user. Is there a tutorial that you would recommend to someone like
me?

Two things that come to my mind that I am concerned with.

First, how does groff manage bibliography and citations?

Second, peer-reviewed journals usually require submissions to be in Word
format or in LaTeX. Is there an easy way to convert a groff document to
a Word document or LaTeX?

Yours sincerely,
Xianwen

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Re: Tools for writers

Ingo Schwarze
Hello,

Xianwen Chen wrote on Sun, Nov 03, 2019 at 04:16:43PM +0100:

> I am interested in giving _groff_ and _gpresent_ a try. I am seasoned
> LaTeX user. Is there a tutorial that you would recommend to someone like
> me?

No, i'm not aware of tutorials (but i generally don't use tutorials,
so maybe i missed them).  But there is good reference documentation:

  https://www.gnu.org/software/groff/manual/html_node/

Gpresent is a macro package specifically for presentation slides.
The documentation is in the groff_present(7) and presentps(1)
manual pages in the textproc/gpresent package and in the groff_mm(7)
manual page in the textproc/groff package.

> Two things that come to my mind that I am concerned with.
>
> First, how does groff manage bibliography and citations?

See the refer(1) utility in the textproc/groff package.

> Second, peer-reviewed journals usually require submissions to be in Word
> format or in LaTeX. Is there an easy way to convert a groff document to
> a Word document or LaTeX?

No, and there isn't even a complicated way either.  If your publisher
requires LaTeX, use LaTeX; it's really that simple...

Yours,
  Ingo

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Re: Tools for writers

Marc Chantreux
In reply to this post by Xiánwén Chén
> My substitute for _pandoc_ is the _org-mode_ of emacs, which is for some
> people also good for outlining etc.

if i quit using vim some day, it will be for something lightweight so
i'll never run emacs, i guess.

regards
marc

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Re: Tools for writers

Xiánwén Chén
In reply to this post by Ingo Schwarze
Right. Thank you very much!


Ingo Schwarze writes:

> Hello,
>
> Xianwen Chen wrote on Sun, Nov 03, 2019 at 04:16:43PM +0100:
>
>> I am interested in giving _groff_ and _gpresent_ a try. I am seasoned
>> LaTeX user. Is there a tutorial that you would recommend to someone like
>> me?
>
> No, i'm not aware of tutorials (but i generally don't use tutorials,
> so maybe i missed them).  But there is good reference documentation:
>
>   https://www.gnu.org/software/groff/manual/html_node/
>
> Gpresent is a macro package specifically for presentation slides.
> The documentation is in the groff_present(7) and presentps(1)
> manual pages in the textproc/gpresent package and in the groff_mm(7)
> manual page in the textproc/groff package.
>
>> Two things that come to my mind that I am concerned with.
>>
>> First, how does groff manage bibliography and citations?
>
> See the refer(1) utility in the textproc/groff package.
>
>> Second, peer-reviewed journals usually require submissions to be in Word
>> format or in LaTeX. Is there an easy way to convert a groff document to
>> a Word document or LaTeX?
>
> No, and there isn't even a complicated way either.  If your publisher
> requires LaTeX, use LaTeX; it's really that simple...
>
> Yours,
>   Ingo

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Re: Tools for writers

Roderick
In reply to this post by Ingo Schwarze


On Sun, 3 Nov 2019, Ingo Schwarze wrote:

> And finally, the only thing that is seriously wrong with
> the "print/texlive" port is how ridiculously large it is.

That is "texlive". Donald Knuths TeX/mf is exactly the opposite to bloat.

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Re: Tools for writers

Roderick
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2

Here is an old system, written in FORTRAN and C, perhaps compiles in
OpenBSD:

http://www.tustep.uni-tuebingen.de/tustep_eng.html

But I never used it and I am hyppy with TeX.

Rodrigo

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Re: Tools for writers

Péter Bertalan Zoltán-2
In reply to this post by Xiánwén Chén
Xianwen Chen (陈贤文) <[hidden email]> [2019-11-03 13:44:20 +0100]:
> Does _pandoc_ work on OpenBSD now?

I can confirm that pandoc works on OpenBSD as I have built it a few
months ago. However, it wasn't a painless procedure.

I installed it via cabal, but you need a little workaround, since a W^X
allowed partition is required for the build There are some articles
online which I followed and created a cabal directory in /usr/local
(which is wxallowed) and mounted it in my $HOME as ‘.cabal’ (as opposed
to mounting /home as wxallowed).

Regards,
Bertalan

--
Bertalan Z. Péter <[hidden email]>
FB9B 34FE 3500 3977 92AE  4809 935C 3BEB 44C1 0F89

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Re: Tools for writers

Xiánwén Chén
In reply to this post by Xiánwén Chén
Dear Mr. Péter,

Thank you!

> I installed it via cabal, but you need a little workaround, since a W^X
> allowed partition is required for the build There are some articles
> online which I followed and created a cabal directory in /usr/local
> (which is wxallowed) and mounted it in my $HOME as ‘.cabal’ (as opposed
> to mounting /home as wxallowed).

I may try it later! Great tips!

Yours sincerely,
Xianwen

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Re: Tools for writers

multifred
In reply to this post by Oliver Leaver-Smith-2
Maybe have a look at Asciidoctor[1]. It's a plain text markup language
and
fast parser/converter with ruby as its sole dependency.

The language is easy to write, very easy to read and doesn't get in
your way. It's similar to Markdown but much more potent, well-rounded
and extensible if necessary. It was born as a replacement for
reStructeredText and is very well suited for writing technical
documentation or books.

I use it specifically because I can just write a plain text document
and worry about output formatting and everything else later, all while
having the confidence that the output formatting will
be doable with reasonable effort.

In the beginning of trying it out, I used the firefox plugin from the
same project which converts documents on the fly into HTML to get a
sense of what the output will look like.

(Asciidoctor is not to be confused with Asciidoc, which is the
predecessor project but seems abandoned.)

Fred

[1]: https://asciidoctor.org

Am 2019-11-02 16:00, schrieb Oliver Leaver-Smith:

> 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

Jordan Geoghegan-3
In reply to this post by Ingo Schwarze

On 2019-11-02 18:29, Ingo Schwarze wrote:

> 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.
Woops, I got pandoc and mandoc confused.

> 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.
>
> [snip]
>
> 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).
>
> [snip]
>
> 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

Thanks for the recommendation Ingo, I'm going to test out groff for a
writing project I have coming up.

Cheers,

Jordan

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Re: Tools for writers

Steve Litt
In reply to this post by Justin Noor
Texlive is great if you're certain your output will be now and forever
only in PDF format. If you can even conceive of it being ePub or some
other lineflow reading format, Texlive and all the TeX/LaTeX
tools dead-end you.

SteveT

Steve Litt
November 2019 featured book: Manager's Guide to Technical
Troubleshooting Second edition
http://www.troubleshooters.com/mgr




On Sat, 2 Nov 2019 09:35:42 -0700
Justin Noor <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 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 Litt
In reply to this post by Antoine Jacoutot-7
On Sat, 2 Nov 2019 20:07:39 +0100
Antoine Jacoutot <[hidden email]> 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.

I know what you mean and you're right to a degree, but I'm currently
writing a couple of books with AsciiDoctor edited in Vim. And I use
VimOutliner for outlining. I'll try to remember and let you know when I
actually finish one of the books.

SteveT

Steve Litt
November 2019 featured book: Manager's Guide to Technical
Troubleshooting Second edition
http://www.troubleshooters.com/mgr

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Re: Tools for writers

Steve Litt
In reply to this post by STeve Andre'-2
On Sat, 2 Nov 2019 15:16:22 -0400
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:  
> >>
> >>
> >> 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.

So after writing the whole thing, you're going to go back and insert
some sorts of codes for backstory paragraphs, emphasis, dialog, and
various other styles?

How are you going to get word-wrap right?

I know it's possible with novels, but it takes some pretty good writing
skills to do so. And I'll go out on a limb and say it's impossible with
a technical book.

SteveT

Steve Litt
November 2019 featured book: Manager's Guide to Technical
Troubleshooting Second edition
http://www.troubleshooters.com/mgr

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