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Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2019 20:30:19 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.8.0 (2017-02-23)

Hi Walter,

Walter Harms wrote on Sun, Mar 24, 2019 at 07:16:07PM +0100:

> while looking at the xorg man pages there came
> a question what this .ny0 may mean
> I could not find this in the groff manual. It seems to do nothing.

In general, the manual pages are relatively low quality,
in particular containing quite some cargo cult.  Thomas Dickey
continued that tradition of cargo culting by keeping the .ny
even though it does nothing:

I would say it is almost certain that it used to be some X11-specific
hack decades ago that has never been maintained or tested since,
because neither GNU troff nor Heirloom troff define an .ny or .ny0

If you really wanted to understand what it was supposed to do in
the 1980ies, you would have to look at revision histories and commit
messages of that (X11R4?) era.

But i don't really see the point.  If you want to improve the
manual pages, just remove all that poorly working cruft from the
preamble and use standard idioms instead.

In particular, IN
-.. ny
-.ny 0

would be obvious improvements, but it would probably also
make sense to use the standard .BR instead of .ZN
and the standard .RB instead of .Pn.

Using ".if t" or ".if n" in a manual page is almost never a good idea.


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