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Re: How to opt out of curly-quote spamming altogether?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: How to opt out of curly-quote spamming altogether?
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2015 20:36:49 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Drew Adams <address@hidden> writes:

> Typically, presentation is a separate layer or process, and the
> same structure/content can be, by choice, presented in different
> ways (for different media, among other things).  Inline code is
> typically presented using a fixed-width font, such as Courier, as
> opposed to ordinary text, which is typically presented using a
> proportional font.  Glossary terms might be presented using bold
> or colored text, perhaps linked to a glossary entry.  And so on.
> Anyone used to LaTeX or Tex is used to this separation, for example.

That's an interesting statement since plain TeX does not in any manner
provide semantic commands (it switches to a typewriter font when using
verbatim but the reason for that is quite banally that normal text fonts
are not able to print all ASCII characters as they use, say, text quotes
instead of ` and ' characters and some other, more glaring

Plain TeX does not even have an \em command for emphasizing things.  You
need to decide yourself whether to use italics or boldface or
underlining or whatever.

LaTeX tries to be a bit more semantic, but the sort of differentiation
that Texinfo requires would require loading quite a number of non-core

> I'm surprised if Texinfo/makeinfo does not provide for it - if an
> inline code snippet or key binding necessarily ends up with a
> presentation that is identical to ordinary text quoting (curly quotes,
> whether single or double).

Texinfo is primarily semantic markup.  Various backends decide how to
typeset things.  In its text mode, plain TeX as well as texinfo.tex
convert ` and ' characters into proper English symmetric quote marks
(the respective default _text_ fonts do not have a straight quote mark
or a backquote in their corresponding character slots).  The proper
representation in Unicode is the use of the English ‘quote marks’: those
are the proper characters for the glyphs TeX and Texinfo use for text
fonts in the slots for ` and '.  Consequently, it is quite correct that
those are the output for the preformatted Info pages.

> There's no crime, only a regression for users. I cannot say who or
> what is responsible, nor does it matter what I think about that.

Indeed.  Most particularly since you are late to the game, do not bother
with getting yourself acquainted with the matter at hand and vent in the
wrong place.

This is done by Texinfo already when generating Info.  I think that at
some point in the past, it was Emacs as Info viewer which converted `'
into curved quotes, but that obviously had to be based on heuristics and
was unreliable.  In contrast, a Drew-mode converting ‘’ back into `'
should be able to do its job unambiguously.  There has not been much of
an interest expressed elsewhere, so it's likely up to you to program it.

Or complain to the Texinfo developer list in your signature style.

Good luck.

David Kastrup

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