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Re: Zero Width Space (was Re: How to print a literal '.' as the first ch

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: Zero Width Space (was Re: How to print a literal '.' as the first character in a line?)
Date: Sun, 5 Jun 2022 00:37:33 -0500

Some history:

The discussion that prompted the August 2020 terminology change is
consolidated in (it started
earlier on the email list, but that bug report contains links to the
relevant email discussion).

One point made therein is that the original CSTR#54 term for \& was
"non-printing, zero-width character"; the 1992 revision of CSTR#54
expanded that to "non-printing, zero-width filler character" (which
seems more misleading than the original, since it does no filling and
has nothing to do with the typographical concept of filling).
"Zero-width space" was purely a groffism.

The commit log for the change in question
( also
contains a lengthy explanation for why the current term was chosen.

No one, including its inventor, seems fully happy with it, but there
also hasn't been an alternate proposal that everyone is happy with.
"Zero-width space" is a nonstarter for its Unicode clash.

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