DEC Runoff to any modern format conversion or DEC MSCP protocol specs

Mark Wickens mark at
Thu Jun 4 17:49:39 CDT 2015

There is also this:

                               Bonner Lab Runoff (RNO)

      Bonner  Lab Runoff is a text formatter that, when used with your favorite
      editor, makes a complete word processor.  Its syntax is almost a complete
      emulation of DSR (Digital Standard Runoff) and it is very compatible with
      previous versions of Runoff.  The document and help file for this version
      can  also be used for DSR.  The intent of this program is to support com-
      plete scientific word processing to produce publication  quality  output.
      It  has been used to produce thesis, progress reports, and scientific pa-
      pers here at Rice University.

      This version allows complete control of any special printer available via
      user definable escape sequences.  In addition  a  macro  facility  allows
      text  or  sequences  of commands to be abbreviated to a single label.  If
      the printer has the correct features, then variable spacing,subscripting,
      superscripting, and equation formatting are possible.  By properly defin-
      ing escape sequences the user can support different printers in  a  tran-
      sparent  fashion.   In  other  words  the  same  input text will print in
      identical fashion on different printers with different control codes  and
      escape sequences.

All written in glorious MACRO!


On 04/06/15 21:58, Peter Coghlan wrote:
> Paul Koning wrote:
>>> On Jun 4, 2015, at 3:53 PM, Mark Wickens <mark at> wrote:
>>> Someone (possibly me) surely can process the files with dec runoff
>>> directly? Doesnt it support postscript output?
>> Not any version I have ever seen; they all produce plain lineprinter output
>> (with overprinting for things like underlining).  You can of course take the
>> formatted output and run it through a simple postprocessor like pstext.
>> Some versions of troff can produce PostScript (current Linux or Darwin ones,
>> for example) so if you can do runoff->troff then you have a direct path to
>> PostScript.  But you’re right, if someone would offer to run an actual
>> RUNOFF on the sources, that would be a good approach.  I could do it on a
>> RSTS system, which might work provided the source doesn’t use VMS-specific
>> Runoff features.
> I've just took a look at the (Open)VMS Alpha 8.2 system in front of me and
> it appears RUNOFF comes installed with the OS.
> The online help says it can produce output for an LN01, LN01E or LN03.
> While these are laser printers, as far as I know, they are nothing like
> postscript printers. I did a quick test and the output looks to me like 8 bit
> ANSI escape sequences and text.
> Regards,
> Peter Coghlan.

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