> Ancient history: when I wrote BCPL roff, I immediately noticed the
> page-level density gradient from thick on the left to thin on the
> right if padding spaces were inserted from the right. I next tried
> randomly distributing the padding. This was even worse because it
> led one to perceive false phrase boundaries at the wider spaces.
> The text became maddening to read. Only then did I try alternating
> left- and right-padding, which has stood the test of time.
Huh. I wonder what it would have looked like if you weighted the padding
to happen more often after punctuation, taking advantage of the phrase
In 1984/1985, at my first tech writing job, I had a NEC Spinwriter for
my output device. I built an nroff “driver” (really a data structure) for it.
The Spinwriter had a positioning resolution of something like 1/72 inch,
so I took advantage to put an even amount of space between each
word on justified lines. It looked about as good as you could get from a
daisy-wheel printer. We got a proportional-spaced font wheel for it later
on, but I never could get underlining right on it.