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[bug #64018] [man, mdoc] decide on a common base paragraph indentation

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: [bug #64018] [man, mdoc] decide on a common base paragraph indentation
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2023 16:24:44 -0400 (EDT)


                 Summary: [man,mdoc] decide on a common base paragraph
                   Group: GNU roff
               Submitter: gbranden
               Submitted: Sun 09 Apr 2023 08:24:42 PM UTC
                Category: Macro - others/general
                Severity: 3 - Normal
              Item Group: Rendering/Cosmetics
                  Status: Need Info
                 Privacy: Public
             Assigned to: gbranden
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any
         Planned Release: None


Follow-up Comments:

Date: Sun 09 Apr 2023 08:24:42 PM UTC By: G. Branden Robinson <gbranden>
Ingo passionately feels that 5n should be it; see bug #63958.

He claims that groff's long-standing default of 7n (on terminal devices; the
default is 7.2n on typesetting devices) "objectively wastes too much real

I don't know what Ayn Rand novel this "objective" standard came from.  It's
like how Beethoven had an objectively dark and incorrect sense-of-life, unlike
the composers of Viennese waltzes!

> That is emphatically a subjective, not an objective, assessment.  Confusing
these two is not a good way to build a convincing argument with me.

> How does one measure the waste of screen real estate?  By counting empty
character cells in a terminal window?  On how large a terminal window?  With
or without adjustment?  With or without hyphenation?  If adjustment is
enabled, do only empty character cells outside the paragraph margins count as
wasted?  Most importantly, what percentage of empty character cells
constitutes the threshold of waste, and how is that percentage "objectively"
arrived at?  If a percentage is not used as the metric of screen real estate
wastage, what is, where is it documented, and how is anyone else to have known
of this "objective" metric?

> I see that I need to look up when and why groff changed to 7n/7.2n for
man(7).  Who knows?  Maybe it was a SunOS change that groff copied back in
1989 without making a lot of noise about it, like the the `SB` macro and
registers C, D, P, and X.

> So I'll [put this into] status "Need Info" again as a homework assignment
for myself.

I'll report back here.


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