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Re: [Groff] empty line before .TH in man page produces sometimes an empt

From: Clarke Echols
Subject: Re: [Groff] empty line before .TH in man page produces sometimes an empty page
Date: Sun, 01 Oct 2006 17:44:36 -0600
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20060909)

ABSOLUTELY NO LINES, other than genuine troff/groff comment lines
should appear in a man page file before the .TH line.  You do *not*
want troff/groff interpreting *anything* before it encounters the
.TH macro call because .TH sets up page boundaries, end-of-page
traps, and a bunch of other stuff that you want fully established
and settled before you start interpreting text.  This has been the
case for decades.

In a source-code (SCCS) or revision (RCS) control environment, the
first line in the file starts with .\" $Header:  [I think -- it's
been many years since I did this stuff back in 1989-1992].  The
RCS or SCCS software then fills in the line with date, revision
version number, etc., but by making it a comment, it keeps the
revision information invisible to troff/groff.

Any line before .TH that is not a comment will create a break in
no-fill mode, and in fill mode will create a non-empty buffer prior
to the .TH line, causing unpredictable behavior, depending on various environment/status conditions.


Bernd Warken wrote:
Consider the followin short man page:

$ cat manpage.1
\" comment
.TH MANPAGE 1 "2006 Oct 1" "manpage"
manpage \- test man page

This has a bug: the first line (with the comment) should start with a dot.
For example, the man page bash.1 has this bug.

Without the dot, this line produces an empty space in the output.  In text
or html output, this space is a single empty line, ok.

But in ps or dvi output, a whole empty page is created.  I consider this a
bug in ps and dvi mode.

If you write some text before the .TH request this text is written in a
single line even in ps or dvi output.  But as soon as you add a line that is
empty or has only spaces or a comment a whole empty page is created
in ps or dvi mode.

Bernd Warken

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