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Re: [Groff] space width

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: Re: [Groff] space width
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2014 20:06:11 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

On Wed, Jan 29, 2014, Werner Lemberg wrote:
> Letter-spacing is bad in general.

I find this statement a bit too broad, especially in the context of
groff, whose only means of justifying lines presently is through
the expansion of wordspace, often with ghastly results.  Have a
look at the first page of pdf output of in the mom
examples files.  Admittedly, the example given shows letterspacing
used in a rag context, but it's very hard not to agree that the
"massaged" passage using very small amounts of letterspacing
(expanded and reduced) is typographically superior to the unmassaged

> A better solution is font expansion, as implemented e.g. in
> pdflatex.  Unfortunately, MM fonts have been abandoned...

In which case, one has to ask: is justification through wordspacing
alone, as is the case with groff now, a superior solution to
implementing word-and letter-spacing?  Not that I don't want to
agree with you, but the realities of groff currently, plus the
absence of Multiple Master fonts, make finding alternative solutions
a must, hence my suggestion of incorporating letterspacing.  Not a
perfect solution, but one that can be implemented and that is, to my
eye, superior to what we have now.

> Given today's memory abundance and the high velocity of CPUs, the
> ideal route would be to implement a document-wide algorithm for
> typesetting a document (in contrast to TeX's page-wide approach).

Completely agree.  The Holy Grail of typesetting.  Do you think it
will ever come to be?

Peter Schaffter

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