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Re: Warn on semantic newlines

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: Warn on semantic newlines
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2023 02:42:33 -0500

On 4/27/23, Douglas McIlroy <> wrote:
> "Semantic newline" warnings are relatively innocuous. The occasional
> pitch on this mailing list for paragraph awareness is far less so.

If you're referring here to changing groff's line-by-line processing
to paragraph-at-once processing (via Knuth-Plass or similar
algorithm), that's a central part of groff's 2014 mission statement
(, where
it's billed as an "exciting challenge") and had widespread support
when the mission statement was being assembled some 10 years ago.

I agree with your rant about software that tries to second-guess what
the user wants: I too find this more often infuriating than helpful.
But groff is already making decisions about how to reflow your input
text.  (If you didn't want it to make those decisions for you, you'd
sprinkle your prose with .brp requests telling it exactly where you
wanted every line to break.)  All this proposal is about is letting it
make BETTER decisions about line-break placement, by taking a wider
view of the same input.

If you're referring to some other occasional pitch, then disregard the above. :)

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