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3 definitions found
 for troff
From V.E.R.A. -- Virtual Entity of Relevant Acronyms (September 2014) :

  TROFF
         Typesetter New Run-OFF (Unix)
         

From The Jargon File (version 4.4.7, 29 Dec 2003) :

  troff
   /T'rof/, /trof/, n.
  
      [Unix] The gray eminence of Unix text processing; a formatting and
      phototypesetting program, written originally in PDP-11 assembler and then
      in barely-structured early C by the late Joseph Ossanna, modeled after the
      earlier ROFF which was in turn modeled after the Multics and CTSS
      program RUNOFF by Jerome Saltzer (that name came from the expression ?to
      run off a copy?). A companion program, nroff, formats output for terminals
      and line printers.
  
      In 1979, Brian Kernighan modified troff so that it could drive
      phototypesetters other than the Graphic Systems CAT. His paper describing
      that work (?A Typesetter-independent troff,? AT&T CSTR #97) explains
      troff's durability. After discussing the program's ?obvious deficiencies ?
      a rebarbative input syntax, mysterious and undocumented properties in some
      areas, and a voracious appetite for computer resources? and noting the
      ugliness and extreme hairiness of the code and internals, Kernighan
      concludes:
  
          None of these remarks should be taken as denigrating Ossanna's
          accomplishment with TROFF. It has proven a remarkably robust tool,
          taking unbelievable abuse from a variety of preprocessors and being
          forced into uses that were never conceived of in the original design,
          all with considerable grace under fire.
  
      The success of TeX and desktop publishing systems have reduced troff's
      relative importance, but this tribute perfectly captures the strengths that
      secured troff a place in hacker folklore; indeed, it could be taken more
      generally as an indication of those qualities of good programs that, in the
      long run, hackers most admire.
  

From The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing (18 March 2015) :

  troff
  
      /T'rof/ or /trof/ The grey eminence of Unix
     text processing; a formatting and phototypesetting program,
     written originally in PDP-11 assembly code and then in
     barely-structured early C by the late Joseph Ossanna,
     modelled after the earlier ROFF which was in turn modelled
     after Multics' RUNOFF by Jerome Saltzer (*that* name came
     from the expression "to run off a copy").  A companion
     program, nroff, formats output for terminals and line
     printers.
  
     In 1979, Brian Kernighan modified troff so that it could drive
     phototypesetters other than the Graphic Systems CAT.  His
     paper describing that work ("A Typesetter-independent troff",
     AT&T CSTR #97) explains troff's durability.  After discussing
     the program's "obvious deficiencies - a rebarbative input
     syntax, mysterious and undocumented properties in some areas,
     and a voracious appetite for computer resources" and noting
     the ugliness and extreme hairiness of the code and internals,
     Kernighan concludes:
  
     None of these remarks should be taken as denigrating
     Ossanna's accomplishment with TROFF.  It has proven a
     remarkably robust tool, taking unbelievable abuse from a
     variety of preprocessors and being forced into uses that
     were never conceived of in the original design, all with
     considerable grace under fire.
  
     The success of TeX and desktop publishing systems have
     reduced troff's relative importance, but this tribute
     perfectly captures the strengths that secured troff a place in
     hacker folklore; indeed, it could be taken more generally as
     an indication of those qualities of good programs that, in the
     long run, hackers most admire.
  
     groff is GNU's implementation of roff in C++.
  
     [{Jargon File]
  
     (1995-03-21)
  

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