Digital restoration and typesetter forensics

Tue Jun 9 09:28:13 EDT 2020

Dave Brailsford, Steve Bagley and I have been working for some months on reconstructing a never-published paper from 1980 that gives an account of what we hope is some really interesting reverse-engineering and some insight into early work on digital typesetting.

The original paper, by Joe Condon, Brian Kernighan and Ken Thompson, was entitled "Experience with the Mergenthaler Linotron 202 Phototypesetter, or, How We Spent Our Summer Vacation." It was suppressed by Bell Labs at the time, probably on valid grounds that it might be revealing someone else's proprietary information. But that was then, and the paper is now freely available.

original paper scanned from a printed version

reconstructed paper in PDF

Our paper describing the reconstruction was published in the proceedings of DocEng 2013, in Florence, Italy, in September 2013:

Revisiting a Summer Vacation: Digital Restoration and Typesetter Forensics

David Brailsford has a couple of interesting videos that talk more about the background and the work itself: