That was actually not why catman was brought into the world:  ATT/USL
thought text-processing was The Goods so they unbundled it base SVR
and invented catman to make up for the missing nroff.

Not quite. They (AT&T) sold the rights to sell typeset manuals to some publishing house (I forget which), at which point they stopped shipping the *roff source for the manpages on the source tapes. Instead, you got pre-formatted "cat" pages on the source tape. I think this happened starting with SVR3.

catman(1) was always about doing bulk nroff runs against the whole of /usr/man, because, back in the day, running nroff on demand was slow. Even on a 785. (catman without nroff would have been a no-op.)


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