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Re: Disposition of groff 1.23.0.rc4 feedback issues

From: Christof Meerwald
Subject: Re: Disposition of groff 1.23.0.rc4 feedback issues
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2023 00:02:54 +0200

On Thu, Apr 20, 2023 at 03:00:45PM -0500, G. Branden Robinson wrote:
> 2. addressed in documentation on master (NEWS) prior to RC4
>    (f9e84954174); reporter remains unhappy, but does not respond to
>    requests for more precise information

I guess the technical details should be well understood by now and are
pretty obvious anyway. A simple test case has been posted in together
with the output from groff 1.22.4 and 1.23.0.rc4 that shows a
significant difference in vertical spacing.

In it
has been pointed out how these changes affect the formatting of
"Typesetting Mathematics - User's Guide (Second Edition)" by Kernighan
and Cherry with 1.23.0.rc4 and where 1.23.0.rc4 now shows formatting
differences that weren't there with 1.22.4.

As a bonus I should maybe also mention that even the document is
(in my view, negatively) affected by these changes (and not just
because of the .bp request) - compare the vertical space before "5.3
Paragraphs" with the vertical space before "5.8 Keeps, boxed keeps,
and displays". There is also surprisingly little vertical space before
"8.2. Berkeley ms accent mark and glyph strings" (when there is a lot
more vertical space before "8.1. AT&T ms accent mark strings"). That's
all visible in

This should all be seen in the context of the Groff Mission Statement:

  "Backward compatibility with existing documents and usage will
   remain a top priority, as will avoiding feature-bloat and increased

When there are these formatting differences even in its own
documentation, there really isn't much value in a promise of "backward

commits responsible for all these changes:
3061f20f53e3616a8577fd2ecce1b068d0d66dd4 and

BTW, the NEWS entry doesn't mention ".TE" and also doesn't mention
that pre-heading space is then also omitted (which is actually the
most obvious/annoying difference). And while we are at it - what about

And in documents where PD is significantly larger than DD, why would I
only want DD spacing? If accumulation of DD+PD spacing is too big,
maybe just using the maximum of DD and PD would be the more desirable

And yes, maybe next week I'll notice more differences/regression in
other documents... (I just haven't looked at any other documents yet)


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