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Uploaded on May 7, 2009
Kristaps Dzonsons, Deprecating groff for BSD manual display, AsiaBSDCon2009: There are few GPL-licensed utilities remaining in BSD base installations, most of them written in C++. groff, GNU's roff text-processing language implementation, claims a significant share of this count. Why does groff still persist in base? Although its text-processing features have been mostly usurped by LaTeX, groff persists in order to render Unix manual pages. In this paper, we introduce mdocml, a compiler for mdoc documents. mdocml replaces a very specific function of groff -- namely, that of rendering mdoc documents for one or more output devices. It's our intention, in contributing this tool, to deprecate groff as the default utility for Unix manual page display; by doing so, and presuming that manual display is the primary usage of groff, we intend to decouple BSD base installations from another GPL and C++ tool.