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Re: [groff] 03/09: tmac/an-old.tmac: Stop remapping ` and '.

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: [groff] 03/09: tmac/an-old.tmac: Stop remapping ` and '.
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2020 12:09:45 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.12.2 (2019-09-21)


Werner LEMBERG wrote on Mon, Nov 02, 2020 at 09:42:35AM +0100:

> To summarize: It seems that there is only a single platform left today
> that by default uses a bitmap font for terminals with symmetric ` and
> ' characters.  This sort-of proves my point, doesn't it?

I fear you missed the point.  What matters is that large numbers
of manual pages use unescaped ' and ` to represent plain ASCII '
and ` for programming language syntax documentation - because that
has been supported in manual pages for more than a decade, because
authors have become used to it, and because it seems likely that
before 2008, not many people ever considered mon-ASCII output of
manual pages.  So dropping support now gratuitiously breaks formatting
of large numbers of manual pages in an important way, changing all
existing pages would be a huge make-work project, and attempting
to re-educate programmers is likely to alienate many of them.

The shape of glyphs in some fonts has nothing to do with the issues

Admittedly, Jan could have chosen a less misleading example.  From
the context of his mail, it appeared that he intended `that' as
"ASCII backtick quote apostophe-quote" (even though that is
ungrammatical in most programming languages i'm aware of), not as
"that in single quotes".  An example like

  my_var=`sed 's/foo/bar/g' input.txt`

would have been less confusing.


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