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

Peter Coghlan cctalk at
Thu Jun 4 15:58:46 CDT 2015

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.

Peter Coghlan.

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