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bug#5566: 23.1.92; man page header ugly on narrow terminals


From: Colin Watson
Subject: bug#5566: 23.1.92; man page header ugly on narrow terminals
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 11:23:54 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

On Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 11:26:48PM +0100, gregor herrmann wrote:
> On Fri, 12 Feb 2010 02:49:00 +0800, address@hidden wrote:
> > Here is a complicated bug that involves several packages, and produces
> > "WWW::Facebook::API::^HUI^Hsn^Het^Hr..." (^H's visible too)
> > on one's emacs screen.
> 
> Looks indeed ugly, but I fail to see what the
> libwww-facebook-api-perl package could do about it?!

Likewise, I agree that it's ugly, but I'm not convinced that man-db (or
groff, which is what's really responsible here) can do anything about
it.  If the header line just plain doesn't fit, it doesn't fit.

No doubt it would be possible to fix this by extending the .TH macro to
be able to declare some kind of fallback for use when the page width is
too short for the normal display, but, aside from the fact that I have
no idea where to start (this would be a groff upstream kind of thing),
I'm not sure that the substantial effort involved is worth it.  I'm sure
it doesn't actually cause any significant confusion.

Regarding emacs' odd ^H display, which I think is the meat of Dan's bug
report, this would appear to be essentially a bug in emacs.  grotty is
rendering the just-won't-fit text by way of backspacing over the first
part of the header and overstriking the middle part; it's within its
rights to do that.  I assume that whatever (lack of) terminal emulation
is used by M-x man isn't smart enough to handle this; perhaps it
special-cases the overstriking used for bold and underlining, and can't
cope with overstriking one character over a completely different
character?

-- 
Colin Watson                                       address@hidden






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