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

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: Re: mm(7) DT string and super/subscripts (was: troff Memorandum Macros documentation derived from the paper "MM - Memorandum Macros")
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 2021 01:08:45 +1000
User-agent: NeoMutt/20180716

Hi, Dave!

At 2021-08-11T20:30:07-0500, Dave Kemper wrote:
> 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.

Fair.  I may have overtrained my brain to emulate a *roff parser--an
avocational hazard.

> 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.)

Yes.  It's on my mental to-do list to warn people off of using Version 7
Unix ms "accent marks" or Berkeley AM accent marks in ms.

We should do something similar with the me(7) documentation.

Incidentally, for those not following groff-commit@, I went and raided
4.4BSD for updates to e.tmac, the me(7) man page, and the meintro and
meref documents.  There were almost no changes of substance, but there
was a helpful simplification of the copyright licensing, making the
files clearly subject to the William Hoskins advertising clause

Long story short, groff me is 3-clause BSD-licensed (as before, but more
clearly now), and if other implementers want to port back our fixes I'd
like to invite them to do so.  There are groffisms in our e.tmac, but
they're walled behind .do requests and similar.  I've cleaned matters up
in this regard a bit.

Some day I want to make a pass over the me(7) manuals and fix all those
horrible looking single quotes.  Those acute accents slash at the eyes
like the antagonist in an '80s horror movie.


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