I'm interested in relationship between two very important Computer Typography systems Troff and TeX. In particular, I would like to find any statements made by Donald Knuth about the influence (or not) of Troff on the early development of TeX78. Could anyone point me to a suitable resource?
I have tried hard to find any records of remarks made by Don related to Troff and its influence on the creation of TeX. I was also preparing to ask him that question personally year and a half ago in San Francisco. Unfortunately, I saw that dramatical iTeX(to be read text) announcement only on video. Since there are many people here who know Don personally, has anybody bother to ask him that question privately?
I am bit surprised to find that this question has not been asked earlier as I recognize many names on this portal who made significant contributions to both systems and who have used computers long before Microsoft "invented Windows". It is a bit inspired by the talk of Brian Reid, the creator of another legendary but now forgotten typesetting system Scribe, about his disillusion with the business of computer typography. I had true privilege attending that talk many years ago. Unlike TeX, it seems to me that Scribe was a legit attempt to take computer typesetting in a "radically" different direction than Troff.
As somebody who essentially grow up using TeX as THE computer typographic system and only learning Troff as a part of general Unix folklore, it would seem to me more logical that Don tried 1978 to fix what was wrong with Troff and continue on his work on Art of Computer Programming instead of creating entirely new typographic system from the scratch. Although proprietary, Troff definitely was not closed source (at least for somebody at Stanford) and it is very formidable general purpose typesetting system. I know enough (I should say little) about both systems and some of their major internal differences to appreciate TeX contributions to the world of Computer Typography. On the another hand, the idea of pre-processors utilized by Troff is very close to my heart being a Unix addict even though
\special is indeed very special command in TeX. I like the fact that Troff is tiny comparing to TeX even that one that I use mandoc (OpenBSD user here) and mdoc macros is not at this point general purpose typesetting system (at least not yet usable for Mathematics).
I am really curious to get some answers on this one. Maybe people who abandoned Music TeX in favor of developing LilyPond can also shed some light.