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

From: walter harms
Subject: Re: [groff] anyone seen ".ny0" ?
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2019 12:02:17 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; de; rv: Gecko/20101125 SUSE/3.0.11 Thunderbird/3.0.11

Am 25.03.2019 20:30, schrieb Ingo Schwarze:
> 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
> request.
> 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.

I think that John Gardner is right here; the original author tried to disable
automatic hyphenation.

> 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.

I am with you. My goal is to remove all the stuff and replace
it with std. man page macros. The problem is to do this
automatically. There are few people checking documentation and
reporting obvious errors let alone writing documentation.

For now my idea is to replace the .Ds/.De macro with .RS/RE
and remove .ny0 and some friends completely.


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

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