Groff: a great typesetting system

created: 2023-08-10

groff latex pandoc markdown technology linux

Groff or troff is a simple typesetter that already exists on most, if not all, Unix systems to provide man-pages.

Recently, I used this tool to typeset my resume following this guide. It was both fun and considerably easier compared to LaTeX (perhaps because I was already familiar with various typesetting systems).

LaTeX is Bloated

For quite some time, I’ve been using LaTeX to write documents for college. However, due to its complexity, it hasn’t been particularly enjoyable to compose documents in pure LaTeX. This is where I discovered Pandoc.

One of the major issues with LaTeX is the size of its packages, leading to bloat and sluggish performance.

Pandoc + Markdown

Pandoc is fantastic software that can seamlessly convert between numerous document filetypes, including Markdown, LaTeX, docx, and more.

Writing documents in Markdown is undeniably enjoyable. I’ve grown so fond of Markdown that I’ve attempted to use it everywhere. Even this blog post is written in Markdown.

Another advantage of Pandoc is its ability to convert all my documents to proprietary formats like docx, which is helpful for friends who exclusively use Microsoft tools.

Occasionally, I still need to convert to LaTeX and directly tinker with it.

Pandoc is an excellent tool for markdown enthusiasts like me. Additionally, marp is another useful tool for transforming markdown files into presentations.

Groff Solves Everything

Although I haven’t extensively used groff yet, I’m already convinced of its superiority.

It adheres to all Unix philosophies:

Groff can archive everything LaTeX can, but with greater efficiency. It’s easy to learn and makes text manipulation straightforward.

Learning Groff