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bug#20707: [PROPOSED PATCH] Use curved quoting in C-generated errors

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: bug#20707: [PROPOSED PATCH] Use curved quoting in C-generated errors
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2015 11:56:01 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hello again, Paul.

On Mon, Jun 01, 2015 at 11:50:36AM -0700, Paul Eggert wrote:
> On 06/01/2015 10:17 AM, Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> > how do you type that left curly quote.

> In the new Electric Quote minor mode you can type just ` for the typical 
> case.  Outside Electric Quote, you can type C-x 8 ` (or A-` if your Alt 
> key is working).  Except for A-` this all should work on any keyboard.  
> You don't need to memorize a 4 digit hex value (I can never remember it 
> myself).

Yes, that's fine.  It's only marginally more difficult to type this
within Emacs than for other self-inserting characters, though this
difference prevents these curly-quotes from being first class characters.

What I really meant with my question is how do you type curly characters
when outwith Emacs?  Say, inside of less, or at a bash shell prompt, or
in any of numerous other tools one might wish to use?

The only answer I can conceive of involves the enhancing of keyboard
layouts.  That's several hours of work.

> >  However, searching for the ASCII back tick (correctly) fails to find 
> > it. This is disconcerting.

> It may be disconcerting at first, but it's easy to get used to and it 
> has advantages, e.g., it provides finer-grained control over searching.  
> Where I want to find a left single quote of either style, I can do a 
> regexp search for "[`‘]" but in interactive usage this is rare, at least 
> for me.

But it's yet another trivial annoyance that one has to heep onto all the
other y-a-t-as we have to cope with every day.

> > I use the Linux virtual terminal: $TERM = linux consolefont="lat1-16" 
> > It doesn't handle UTF-8, because I never put in the effort to make it 
> > do so.

> According to <https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/UTF-8#The_system_console> it 
> should work if you have sys-apps/baselayout 
> <http://packages.gentoo.org/package/sys-apps/baselayout> 1.11.9 or 
> higher installed, have unicode="yes" in /etc/rc.conf, and specify e.g. 
> keymap="uk" in /etc/conf.d/keymaps.  The console font lat9w-16 seems to 
> be reasonably popular, so you might try that. UTF-8 works out of the box 
> in Ubuntu and Fedora on the system console; I don't use Gentoo but it 
> shouldn't be a lot of trouble to get it to work there too.

<Sigh>.  I've had a look at these instructions.  There's a lot of glib
handwaving on them, like "Do <this> and read the comments".  There's not
a recipe on that page, for the simple reason that the process is too
complicated.  It says nothing about, for example, what consoletranslation
or unicodemap to select, whatever these things might be.  It gives a font
which "seems to be reasonably popular", without saying anything about it:
which characters it displays, for example.  I'm not familiar with font
manipulating software; I'd have to find some.

Yes, all these things are doable - I've done them before, and it took
several days (I kept notes).  Maybe it would only take several hours this

But I come back to the point.  Why start using these curly characters at
all?  I put it to you you're fixing what isn't broken.  One of Emacs's
strong points has always been its working in pretty much any environment.
You're going to slightly improve what these things look like in some
display environments at the cost of slight inconvenience all round.  What
we currently have works, works well, and has done for decades.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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