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rotfl readme file

How to install?
Run the program to install rotfl.  You'll have to be root in order
to do that.  The install program now asks you for a prefix directory to 
install everything to.  This is a fix from how it used to work.

By the way, rotfl also comes with an uninstall program so that you can remove
it cleanly if you want to.  The installation program automagically puts the
prefix into the uninstall program so that you can successfully uninstall.

What is rotfl?
rotfl is a simple text-formatting language.  It's similar in function to TeX,
HTML, nroff/groff, Postscript, etc.  However, it is far less complicated than
any of those.  I made it very simple because I was too lazy to learn how to
write things in any of those more complicated formatting languages, but not
too lazy to write up a new one.

It simply reads a regular text file and looks for special tags.  When one of
those tags is encountered, it applies a special format to the following text.

What do I need to run it?
Well, you don't need too much to run rotfl.  The basic requirements are
a Perl interpreter and any operating system that can run said Perl
interpreter.  I am personally developing on a Linux system, and it runs
just fine.  However, any system that can run Perl and the Term::ReadKey
library is godo to go.

To create rotfl-formatted files, all you need is a simple text editor.

What can rotfl do?
The basic unit in rotfl is a record.  A record is sort of like an entry into
a diary.  You can have a bunch of these in a file.  Each record can be whatever
length you want.  rotfl will display a prompt after each page of text, as well
as after each record.  rotfl can also handle a header for each record - which 
includes a title, author, and a date - lists, indentation, and simple
justification of text.  It can also support nesting of lists and indents each
list a little further over.

rotfl allows you to quickly skip between these records by going to the table
of contents and selecting a record to view.  This can be accessed from the
prompt.  Check the rotfl man page for other things you can do at the prompt.

What can't rotfl do?
Well, rotfl is currently pretty limited.  It cannot deal with things like 
tables of text (yuck), bold text, or anything too fancy in general.  But I 
am working on improvements and new features.

What websites/other info/related programs are there?
The official rotfl website is:

It has some information on it, and is where the newest version will always
be announced.  It looks bad, but I will get around to fixing that up

You can also go to:

This website is maintained by Mike Burns <>, who has 
given me a lot of good ideas about what to do with rotfl.  It also has the 
rotfl2web program, which converts rotfl to an html/css page.  Pretty cool.

There is now a rotfl mailing list.  To subscribe, send a message to:

And follow the directions it gives you.  This list is currently low traffic
and is not available in digest form.  If there is a need for a digest form,
that can be done.

Who wrote it and how can I help?
rotfl was written by Chris Lumens <>.  If you want to help
out or make suggestions or anything, feel free to hack on my code (it's just a
simple Perl script).  Please follow my style if possible and send me a patch
that I can apply to my program for later distribution.  Also, include a 
description of your patch and your email address so you can get credit.

By the way, rotfl is a GPL'ed program.  I'm not getting into the big 
explanation of what that means.  Read the COPYING file that was included
with this distribution in order to figure out what the license terms are.

How to create rotfl formatted files?
Look at the HOWTO file for detailed instructions and a list of all the various
tags and stuff.  Or you could just look at the sample files and copy those.


text formatting language




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