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Re: [Groff] tbl problems in man

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: [Groff] tbl problems in man
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 13:06:24 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/

Werner LEMBERG <address@hidden>:
> > > What's the problem with .TQ?  Most of the data in can
> > > be represented with this macro in a satisfying way, I believe.
> >
> > Since you say so, I assume it's possible.  But I have not figured
> > out how yet.
> Have a looked at the attached file.

I understand. This will only work for eliminating two-column tables in the
particular form that uses a lot.  I was puzzled because I thought
you were suggesting it as a more general solution.
> > The only problem with using w is that the number that needs to go to
> > go next to it is brittle -- it may break if the table indent
> > changes, or if the the point size changes, or if the margins change.
> I fully agree.  It can make such man pages ugly to read.

This I don't understand.  Ugly to read for whom?  If w is chosen well 
for the indent and point size, it will look as though the table was 
filled to right margin by a smart algorithm.

> I disagree.  The nice thing of tables created with tbl is that each
> column gets exactly the width it deserves. 

That's not true for T{ }T columns.  If it were, we wouldn't be having
this conversation!

>                                           Using your percent model,
> this advantage is lost.  Additionally, it surprises me that you are
> suggesting an extension to `tbl' which won't be available with non-GNU
> implementations!

That, on the other hand, is a good point.  I guess portability pins us
to using the existing 'w' specifier.  Forget my speculations.

> I still think that tables with T{...T} don't work well within man
> pages.  Instead, .TP and TQ should be used, as demonstrated in the
> attached file.

Yes?  And what do we do if the table has more than two columns?

I'll put it on my to-do list to determine which pages can be reduced
this way.    But .TP/.TQ is not a general solution, and of course ,TQ
has its own portability problem.  Given these circumstances, I don't
understand your objections to use of the w specifier.
                <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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