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Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft

From: Peter Schaffter
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement, second draft
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 00:23:14 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)


I'm having trouble coming up with an opening paragraph, so
straight to it.

1.  The goal is improving semantic markup in manpages.

2.  Ingo and Eric presented proposals for how it might be done.  Their
    proposals differed only in approach.

3.  Together, the proposals dovetail into a workable, non-intrusive
    way to implement the goal:

      - extend the man(7)   *macros*
      - improve the mdoc(7) *macros*, at need
      - *socially engineer* the use of clearer semantic markup
        in manpges

4.  None of this touches the backend (core groff), except possibly
    hygiene, which is an *idea* at this stage.  If implemented, it would
    *not* prevent roff or mandoc from displaying the full richness of
    presentational macros and groff requests in manpages.

5.  If something like hygiene does get implemented, it will *not* be to
    assist doclifter (which needs very little help), but to make it
    possible for display systems/engines *other than groff* to render
    manpages sensibly *based on their semantic structure.*  This is what
    Eric means when he talks about "decoupling" man(7) from groff.  It's
    a sensible, forward-looking measure.

As I and others have said, this is almost exclusively a frontend
issue, and in no way reflects anyone's desire to transmogrify groff
into a typographically-crippled xml machine.  That ain't never gonna
happen, nohow.  If you write a manpage--or anything else, for that
matter--so it comes out looking like a portrait of Adrian Frutiger,
groff will continue to output it that way.

Since Eric and Ingo have explicitly made these points on more than
one occasion, I'm thinking anxiety is beclouding the discussion.
This is good: it means we care very much about keeping groff the
great *typesetting* system it is.  Speaks well for the future.


Peter Schaffter

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