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Re: GSoC project "Hyphenation"?

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: Re: GSoC project "Hyphenation"?
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 14:40:45 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.94 (gnu/linux)

> time and time again I have searched for "Emacs" and "hyphen-
> ation", and so little results came up that I looked up "hy-
> phenation" again to make sure that I hadn't misspelled it.

I guess there's a combination of reasons for that:
- Emacs doesn't support proportional fonts very well.
- monospaced justified text is rarely used.
- => justified text is rarely used in Emacs.
- hyphenation is rarely needed for non-justified text.

E.g. without hyphenation, your email would not have been much
less pleasantly balanced.  There are only 3 paragraphs where your
hyphenation lets Emacs's filling algorithm give noticeably better
results, but by tweaking down the fill-column on a case-by-case
basis (from 60 to 57, for example), you can easily get back
something reasonably close (aesthetically) to the
hyphenated version.

Of course, a refined filling code could get even better result
when combined with hyphenation, but my point is simply that I'm
not sure the extra work needed for hyphenation is worth the
trouble at this point.  Especially since "naive" hyphenation like
you've done in your email is not great either: a typographer
would scream at some of your paragraphs where all lines are
hyphenated (already, hyphenating two successive lines is
generally considered bad style).

>   Comments or sentiments?

It's the first time I hear not just a request but even any
mention of the concept of hyphenation support for Emacs, so
I indeed wouldn't consider it high-priority.  But by all means,
do scratch that itch,


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