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Re: Ubuntu vs. Debian (was Re: Introduction)

On Tuesday 13 February 2007 16:29, Miles Fidelman wrote:

> FYI: Just for perspective, I'm also old enough to remember designing
> control logic for film processors used for in preparing print the
> old-fashioned way (you know, half-tone separations, prepared with
> screens and cameras) - and, for that matter, laying out the PC boards
> with black tape on acetate.  Never used TeX or LaTeX, but used enough
> runoff and troff (remember those :-) to prefer WYSIWIG editors for
> short documents.

This whole discussion reminds me of my (software product development) 
department in the 1980's.  I had fought for, and succeeded, in getting 
dumb terminals on everybody's desk connected through to a central Unix 
system (Xenix from Microsoft - sold by the company I work for in the 
UK, Logica) running on a PDP 11, where we had introduced version 
control (SCCS and some modifications) to the software development 

in about 1982 I was in the market for a line printer so that my team 
could print out their software listings and was pursuaded by the our HP 
account manager to take a look at their new product - the HP Laserjet.  
I was sold on the fact that we could get our printouts in A4 form for 
the first time.

As soon as we had taken delivery of this, one of my senior developers 
set up a series of nroff macros that made it very simple to create a 
whole range of our companies standard documents in nearly perfect form 
(company logo etc in header and footer - times fonts in the right size 
and weight for all the different sections).  Most of the rest of the 
company were still using IBM electronic typewriters - and nobody really 
understood how our department always produced such good AND STANDARD 

Unfortunately the one downside (which today would be handled by svg) was 
the inability to include anything other than ascii art in embedded 
diagrams - and eventually PCs on everyone's desk and Microsoft Word 
took over and by about 1989 this documentation method died.

I no longer have anything to do with that area - but I would say today 
that we still cannot produce documents with the consistency and 
completeness (proper version control of all documentation, with the 
version numbers automatically printed in the footer is just one such 

Alan Chandler

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