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

From: Dave
Subject: [bug #57618] man/groff_char.7.man: page needs an overhaul
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2020 16:12:49 -0500 (EST)
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:45.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/45.0

Follow-up Comment #4, bug #57618 (project groff):

I concede the good points made on the usefulness of 80-column limits and the
uselessness of the "sic"s.  But I must confess I don't find either of these
points particularly compelling:

[comment #3 comment #3:]
> I consider the PostScript column useful for two reasons: it
> provides a nice reminder that while almost every character can
> be expressed in terms of Unicode, not every system of glyphs
> is a subset of Unicode nor necessarily organized in a strictly
> numeric manner.  Also, PostScript plays a special role in the
> history of roff, and some aspects of the roff character system -
> like the distinction of \- and \(mi - can be better understood
> when considering PostScript output than when considering Unicode.

The first reason, especially, seems more philosophical than practical in the
context of someone merely trying to use the language -- and also redundant,
considering roff's own character names are largely neither numeric nor
Unicode-derived.  The second point carries a bit more weight, but -- again, as
a practical matter to users in 2020 and beyond, who only need to create
documents and for whom the origin of certain roff-isms is merely a tangent --
probably not enough to justify the column's retention.

Additionally, the man page itself does nothing to explain why the column is
there or what a user could do with its information, the likeliest outcome of
which -- for readers who don't gloss over the column entirely -- is to make
them wonder, "What am I missing here?"

I'm not _opposed_ to the PostScript column, just not sure I see its need in
the modern roff ecosystem, especially if its presence requires other
contortions to keep tables within 80 TTY columns.  Further down the page, for
example, just about every entry in the Notes column of the Brackets table
spans two lines, while many could easily fit on one (and look much nicer) if
the PostScript column went away.


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