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Re: [Groff] Re: Bug in mm macro package

From: Clarke Echols
Subject: Re: [Groff] Re: Bug in mm macro package
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 09:33:51 -0700
User-agent: Thunderbird 1.5 (Windows/20051201)

Werner LEMBERG wrote:
I used New Century Schoolbook for fonts 1, 2, and 3, and Courier for
font 4.  They were specified by four lines in the manpage macros I
was using that I had modified from the AT&T to suit my own purposes.

This is still possible.

I assume the .fam request came along when groff was invented...


The big advantage I see for using .fp is that you can standardize
fonts for an entire set of manuals or other printed products coming
out of a shop, and you don't expose yourself to some individual
choosing an alternate font in a commercial publication without

I don't see how this is related to the concept of accessing a font
position directly.  \f[B] does the same, doesn't it?

It does now, but in 1989-1993 there was no .fam request, and
it was much easier to use .fp instead of \f(NB or some such
thing in a macro file, having to change it throughout the package.
Then there was the other problem of others who would specify
\fB or \fR in the regular text instead of using macros, which
caused troff to substitute Times Roman instead of New Century
Schoolbook, etc.  Requiring the use of \f3 instead forced them
to think about what they were doing, rather than non-chalantly
typing \fB and changing the font to something non-standard for
the book.  When I inherited the HP-UX reference and man pages
in 1989, it was a mish-mash of \fR, \fB, .BI and a bunch of
other AT&T-isms.  I used a combination of vi run non-interactively
from a shell script, and piping the buffer through sed to do some
other wicked stuff, to reformat and recode many hundreds of
man page files into proper use of man macros and get rid of the
font-control problem so the entire manual looked clean and was
cleanly coded.  The entire process took mere minutes once the
shell and text-editor scripts were written.  It took a few hours
to write the scripts and debug them, but the result was well
worth it.  I could then run sample pages using various fonts
until I got the "look" I wanted for best readability, and that's
how I settled on New Century Schoolbook.  It's a really nice font.

I'm not saying that \f[B] is inappropriate, but the original
comment about the use of font positions being inappropriate is,
I think, somewhat in error as far as classic troff is concerned.
The newer method of using .fam may be more current, but .fp is
still valid for those who might prefer that approach, and should
be maintained in groff in order to be compatible with troff.

Besides, it's easier to type \f1, \f2, \f3, and \f4 than to type
\f[R] \f[I], \f[B], etc. (I don't have to go looking for the
"[" and "]" keys every time I need them.) :-)  Then there's the
problem that some of us "old dogs" don't particularly want to have
to learn new tricks, even when we ought to. :-)



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