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Re: [tbl] [regression] Formatting glitch in table separators

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: Re: [tbl] [regression] Formatting glitch in table separators
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2023 10:00:52 -0500

Hi Alex,

At 2023-04-30T16:40:11+0200, Alejandro Colomar wrote:
> This one seems serious, and not just a minor inconvenience.  You can
> reproduce it in the current ascii.7 page from the Linux Manual Pages.
> The table separator is gone (except for some aberration at the end,
> which even invades the following subsection).

I know about this one, and regard it as cosmetic.

Bjarni reported it back on 25 March.

It is assuredly ugly--and please have no doubt that I find it highly
irritating--but it destroys no information.  On the bright side, there's
no longer a spurious blank line in the midst of the table.

> I don't know if the CW font selection right above the table is
> somehow guilty).

Nope, nothing to do with it.  The ugliness arises from two factors:

1.  The "continuous rendering" mode used by groff man(7) and mdoc(7)
    uses a technique that is more complicated than simply setting the
    page length to a huge value, but then shortening it when the page
    text ends, leaving only enough room for format the page footer.

    (Long-term, I think making that change will resolve #63960, but not
    all of the bad behavior.)

2.  GNU tbl deliberately draws horizontal and vertical rules too long on
    nroff devices.  This was a deliberate design choice, and it's there
    for a good reason, but in my opinion it is too ugly to live and
    should replaced with another method, for which I have ideas.

If you can't stand for it to be in your man page, ditch the vertical
rule from the table format.

-l l l l | l l l l.
+l l l l l l l l.

People will still understand the table.  And you can put it back when I
get the above 2 bugs fixed.


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