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Re: [groff] [patch] modernize -T ascii rendering of opening single quote

From: Jeff Conrad
Subject: Re: [groff] [patch] modernize -T ascii rendering of opening single quote
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2019 04:29:38 +0000

On Monday, February 18, 2019 4:23 AM, Ralph Corderoy wrote:

> Hi Ingo,
> > The latest US-ASCII standard, ANSI INCITS 4-1986 (R2007),
> .  .  .
> I think you have misinterpreted the above.
> The table on physical page 16 of the above US-ASCII standard says
> .  .  .
> That makes clear that 27 and 60 are paired as left and right single
> quotation marks.

I read ANSI/INCITS 4-1986 as also pairing neutral apostrophe and grave
accent, if perhaps with a caveat.

> A5.2 says the aim is `a typeface that would be acceptable for both
> uses'.  Thus one that makes 60 and 27 look like a left/right pair of
> single quotes, and also grave and acute accents for over-striking.

This is yet a third possibility, which the editor of the 1967 standard
said was also true of the earlier version.  They gave possibilities, but
intended no recommendations on which options to choose.

> > While that of course cannot retroactively change what ASCII used to
> > define in the 1960ies to 1980ies,

I think what ASCII used to do depended on who was doing it.  I’m not
sure there’s any way to authoritatively assess it, but it really
wouldn’t matter.  None of my displays has shown left and quotes for many
years; apparently that hasn’t always been true for others.

> > i do think an argument can be made that there is value in
> > discontinuing usage of ASCII that conflicts with Unicode before we
> > enter the third decade of the new millenium.

This makes sense to me.  Perhaps an even more relevant consideration:
what percentage of displays today are in conflict with the ISO 646
encoding?  Shouldn’t the objective be the greatest good for the greatest

> ASCII is ASCII.  Unicode may choose to change the interpretation of
> its runes that overlap, but it doesn't change ASCII.

ISO 646 “changes” ASCII only in that it removes options.  An ISO 646–
compliant encoding would also seem ASCII compliant.

I do agree with Ralph that we’ve spent an awful lot of time on this ...

Jeff Conrad

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