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Re: weird \s

From: Dave Kemper
Subject: Re: weird \s
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2020 03:32:46 -0500

On 3/31/20, Ralph Corderoy <address@hidden> wrote:
> Doug's idea of \s314 being 314, not 31, is better, but the effect can
> already be achieved with groff's existing extension of (xx to [yyy...]

True, the functionality is already there.  But the principle of least
astonishment argues that the bare numbers 39 and 40 not be treated
differently.  Syntax that surprises someone who's been as involved
with a piece of software as Doug should be looked upon with
skepticism.  It would surely not occur to anyone writing a document in
2020 to say something like "\s65 golden rings" to get a point size of

The proposed change quoted above would break historical documents that
use such constructions -- but they're poor style anyway: anyone
writing with an eye to clarity would already have said "\s[6]5 golden
rings" or "\s6\&5 golden rings".  (Even the groff info manual, in its
sole example using \s with an absolute point size, uses unnecessary
brackets to aid clarity: "\s[20]x\s[0]".)

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