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Bravo stuff moved to Talk:Bravo (software)

I'm a little dubious about the attribution of the source of the name, but it might be correct. I'll leave it for now, but if someone can source it that would be good. Noel (talk) 23:51, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Earliest" text formatter[edit]

I'm trying to upgrade a lot of the early text formatter pages, including RUNOFF (don't ask why :-), and in the course of doing all that I ran across the TJ2 page. I'd heard about that before (perhaps from reading the PDP-1 article), but it was really impressive to see.

So I'm trying to work out how this and RUNOFF relate for the title. It seems clear that TJ2 was earlier. Saltzer's CV indicates he worked in formatting in 64-66, which is clearly later. Was there any earlier work on formatting on CTSS, before Saltzer's? (I should ask him if he got the idea from TJ2.) How about anywhere else? Is it same to call RUNOFF the first TF system which saw extensive use?

I'll put together a TJ2 page (I'm also going to do a TJ6 stub). Noel (talk) 17:10, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Just about everything I personally know is in the TJ-2 page. I tried to draw Pete Samson out via email but received only a very short note acknowledging that he wrote the program. I do NOT remember anything similar on CTSS but I was not an experienced user of that system. It had some kind of line-oriented editing program, of course, but the key question is word wrap. Keep in mind that at that time, the vast majority of teletypes and line printers were uppercase-only. (As late as 1977 or so I tried unsuccessfully to convince the head of the computer group at the Eye Research Institute that as long as they were buying a brand new PDP-11/70 and an $18,000 line printer, they should pay the extra $1000 for an upper-and-lower-case chain. He simply couldn't see any possible use for lower-case printing on a computer). The availability of printing mechanisms based on IBM electric typewriters was surely one of the driving mechanisms behind the development of TJ-2.
I certainly remember RUNOFF, of course. But it was later. I don't believe that RUNOFF was intended to be a "word processor" in the modern sense at all, but as a sort of crude proofer for TYPSET (or was it TYPESET? I don't remember). It was an offshoot of the use of PDP-8's for computer typesetting. It belongs to the PDP-8 era, or just possibly the PDP-5 era. I had never heard of RUNOFF circa 1963. Nobody ever described TJ-2 in relation to RUNOFF. There was no generic name for it, it wasn't "a word processor" or "a text editor" or "a formatter" or "a cut-down version of RUNOFF," it was just TJ-2. I should probably read the RUNOFF article... I'll go do that now. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 18:25, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)
My memories of RUNOFF are obvious faulty and inaccurate. I wouldn't quarrel with the characterization of RUNOFF as "first computer text formatting program to see significant use" since use of TJ-2 was very limited, basically to TMRC and a small group of users of a particular PDP-1, while RUNOFF and its descendants received very widespread use. The dot-command formats of later word processor including IIRC WordStar are clearly influenced by RUNOFF rather than TJ-2. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 18:28, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps you were thinking of some other RUNOFF, one with a PDP-5/8 connection? Anyway... my interest in a possible TJ-2/CTSS-RUNOFF connection is that since Jerry was in the EE department, it's quite possible that he'd heard of TJ-2 and that it influenced him to create RUNOFF. I'll ask him directly, I guess. Noel (talk) 02:13, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

P. S. As my online document shows, TJ-2 was definitely, definitely spelled with a hyphen. I never heard of TJ6 so of course cannot say how it was spelled. [[User:Dpbsmith|Dpbsmith (talk)]] 21:55, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

TJ6 was a text formatter used later on ITS. The name indicates a link to TJ-2. (And TJ6 has no hyphen - there are manuals online at the AI Lab, which I'll link to in the TJ6 article.) Thanks for calling my attention to the hypen in TJ-2; I had missed that. Noel (talk) 02:13, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)

RUNOFF for other systems[edit]

Prime Computer and perhaps other early computer vendors also sported document markup software called RUNOFF. Prime's version was similar in syntax to DEC's RUNOFF, but was not compatible with it. Because of Prime's Multics ancestry, it is likely that its RUNOFF was derived from the Multics version. Further research is needed. Snezzy (talk) 11:03, 6 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Merging into "Runoff (program) into "TYPSET and RUNOFF"[edit]

The "Runoff (program)" is HatNoted as needing inline citations. The "TYPSET and RUNOFF" article has some, and I'm in the process of adding more. Since the contents of "Runoff (program)" can nicely fit into this other, that seems to be the way to go, rather than duplicate citations and wordings. Pi314m (talk) 04:45, 5 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Too funny to delete?[edit]

I'm in a quandary about the text a successor to TeX was announced by Knuth in 2010.[1]. The announcement in question was a joke, persented at TUG as though it was real. On the one hand, it doesn't belong there, but on the other hand it is so funny that I don't have the heart to delete it. Is there a way to leave the link without violating any Wikipedia policies? Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 17:57, 29 September 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ "Knuth declares TeX obsolete, unveils successor". 2010.

Compatible software[edit]

There were four other commands on CTSS which had the same editing commands as TYPSET: EDL (edit line-marked file), EDA (edit ASCII file), EDB (edit binary files) and EDC (edit card image files).[1] -- Jamplevia (talk) 18:27, 9 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Crisman, Patricia A., ed. (December 31, 1969). "The Compatible Time-Sharing System, A Programmer's Guide" (PDF). The M.I.T Computation Center. Retrieved March 10, 2022.


I, as the author of BCPL roff (never called RUNOFF), should not edit this article. BCPL roff was named after Morris's version of RUNOFF written to be portable to Multics. Morris called his program roff to distinguish it from Saltzer's program with which it coexisted on CTSS. BCPL roff was a considerable extension of RUNOFF. The article twists several of these facts; some are echoed in roff (software). For a fuller history, see that written by G. Branden Robinson for the GNU groff project. --Doug McIlroy (talk) 16:43, 19 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]