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Re: mm(7) DT string and super/subscripts (was: troff Memorandum Macros d

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: mm(7) DT string and super/subscripts (was: troff Memorandum Macros documentation derived from the paper "MM - Memorandum Macros")
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2021 20:30:07 -0500

On 8/9/21, G. Branden Robinson <> wrote:
>       \v'-.5'\s-4\&2\s0\v'.5'
> The use of \&, unnecessary here as far as I know, suggests to me that
> someone got burned by the magic syntax of the \s escape sequence.

The \& is unnecessary for correct machine parsing, but it surely aids
human eyes, which could otherwise potentially misread \s-42.  A
handful of users may have memorized the cutoffs for \s's magic, but
others would have to consult another manual to check.  The \& makes it
immediately clear the "2" is not part of the "\s" escape.

On 8/9/21, Robert Goulding <> wrote:
> -me macros: I have always disliked the way that that macro set added line
> spacing to accommodate the footnote marker. Maybe that was necessary in
> older output devices; but it looks very ugly in modern laser
> printed output.

That's not -me's only ugliness based on historical limitations.  One
of my "favorites" is its \*v diacritical mark, designed to produce a ˇ
(caron; Unicode U+02C7, or U+030C in its combining form) -- which \*v
simulates with a raised, reduced-size letter v.  Once upon a time, I'm
sure that was the best solution available.  In modern output it looks
awful.  (Luckily, modern troff provides better ways of specifying
Unicode characters, so -me users are no longer obligated to use \*v,
so it's not really worth fixing.)

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