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Re: groff 1.23.0.rc2 available for testing

From: Ralph Corderoy
Subject: Re: groff 1.23.0.rc2 available for testing
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2023 13:29:11 +0000

Hi Branden,

Some drive-by comments from a quick skim.

> o New requests `soquiet` and `msoquiet` are available.  They operate as
>   `so` and `mso`, respectively, except that they do not emit a warning
>   diagnostic if the file named in their argument does not exist.

Given the ‘file’ warning also controls this, AIUI, I wonder if it would
have been more orthogonal to have a new command to alter the warnings
for just what follows.

    .warn -file so might-be-missing
    .warn -el historicalmacro foo bar

> o nroff now supports spaces and tabs between option flag letters and
>   option arguments, like groff and troff themselves.

I think that's trying to say

    nroff -o 3,1,4

is now okay, i.e. the option's value can be a separate argument to the
option, but it reads to me that

    nroff -o' 3,1,4'

will ignore the space.  Having to mention spaces and tabs smells wrong.

> o The `PDFPIC` macro (provided by the `pdfpic` package) no longer aborts
>   upon encountering trouble.  Instead, it reports an error and abandons
>   processing of its argument(s).  It is also more sensitive to other
>   kinds of problems and handles them the same way, by issuing a
>   diagnostic and returning.  If you wish `PDFPIC` to abort document
>   processing immediately upon error, you can append an `ab` request to
>   the package's error-handling macro.
>     .am pdfpic@error
>     .  ab
>     ..
> o The pspic package now also has an error hook macro, which you can use
>   to make failed image loads fatal (or attempt fallback or recovery).
>     .am pspic@error-hook
>     .  ab
>     ..

Were those ‘.ab’ written with the lack of a default message in mind?

> o The new rfc1345 macro package, contributed by Dorai Sitaram, defines
>   special character identifiers implementing RFC 1345 mnemonics (plus
>   some additions from Vim, which itself uses RFC 1345 for its digraphs).
>   It is documented in the groff_rfc1345(7) man page.

Mention ‘digraphs’ earlier and more prominently as that's their common

>   you should now write
>     .MR ls 1 .

Is text to include in one's man-page preamble given which tests if .MR
is available and if not defines it?  This would encourage .MR to be

>   The default is "b" (adjust lines to both margins) as has been
>   the Unix man(7) default since 1979.

Probably just because it was showing off, similar to UNIX with small
caps.  :-)  It looks ugly.

> o On output devices using the Latin-1 character encoding ("groff -T
>   latin1" and the X11 devices) the special character escape sequence
>   \[oq] (opening quote) is now rendered as code point 0x27 (apostrophe)
>   instead of 0x60 (grave accent).  The ISO 8859/ECMA-94 Latin character
>   sets do not define any glyphs for directional ("typographer's")
>   quotation marks, but the apostrophe is depicted in the defining
>   standard as a neutral (vertical) glyph, whereas the grave accent 0x60
>   and acute accent 0xB4 are mirror-symmetric diacritical marks.
>   This change has no effect on _input_ conventions for roff source
>   documents.  You can still get directional single quotes on UTF-8,
>   PostScript, PDF, and other output devices supporting them by typing
>   sequences like `this' in the input (character remapping with 'char'
>   requests and similar notwithstanding).

-Tascii could do with a mention to place it in the Latin-1 or UTF-8

What's producing those funky ‘o’ bullet points?  And the `hip`
backticks?  Could UTF-8 be produced instead with • and ‘elegant’?

Cheers, Ralph.

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