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[bug #57618] man/groff_char.7.man: page needs an overhaul

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: [bug #57618] man/groff_char.7.man: page needs an overhaul
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2020 04:08:31 -0500 (EST)
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0 PureBrowser/60.9.0

Update of bug #57618 (project groff):

                  Status:                    None => Confirmed              
             Assigned to:                    None => gbranden               
                 Summary: man/groff_char.7.man: meaning of "[sic]" is unclear
=> man/groff_char.7.man: page needs an overhaul


Follow-up Comment #1:

commit 9fd6d7b45d9bb19c9bc3348cbe703c64a662b020
Author: G. Branden Robinson <address@hidden>
Date:   Thu Jan 16 17:14:49 2020 +1100

    groff_char(7): Fix typos in glyph descriptions.
    ...and a bogus "sic".  A "guillemet" is in fact a kind of quotation
    mark.  Adobe got it wrong with "guillemot", which is a seabird.

I already got rid of the 4 "sic"s.

But the page still has much that ails it, as you note.

* The stuff in the first paragraph about "(N/A)" for unavailable glyphs is a
lie, as far as I can tell.

* As you note, the tables are often too wide.  It would be nice to get them
fitting on an 80-column terminal.  This often means getting them to fit on a
U.S. letter page when typeset, too, so it's a good norm to observe.

* Way too much emphasis on Latin-1.  We use preconv now.  IMO groff input
should be pure ASCII plus groff escapes, but preconv gives us more flexibility
than that.

* In fact I'd nuke the Latin-1 section altogether.  It's an old, uninteresting
encoding, and people had switched away to ISO 8859-15 even before they went to
full-on UTF-8, because they needed the Euro sign.

* Lots of Bernd-isms in this page, like repeatedly putting noun phrases in

I'd have fixed this page long ago if it didn't require so _much_ work.

But fixing the irritating typos was a start.

There is a theory that the [sic] was not for the guillemot/met spelling, but
due to the problematic terminology of "left" and "right", because these glyphs
are supposed to mirror-reflect when used in RTL languages.  So I guess
"forward" (in the direction of text flow) and "backward" are about the only
terms we can use.

But does groff even support RTL languages at all?  As far as I know it does
not, and this left/right is not worth fixing, in my view, until and unless it

I am therefore, instead of closing this bug, adapting it to my own foul
purposes.  The laundry list of things I think it needs is above.

Comments are welcome on my proposed actions.


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