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Re: Texinfo help, please

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Texinfo help, please
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 15:50:21 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Janek Warchoł <address@hidden> writes:

> On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 1:56 PM, David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:
>> "Phil Holmes" <address@hidden> writes:
>> > It should wrap between the words "the file" and the filename.
>> Obviously not enough stretchability for that to fit.  You can try
>> @tex
>> \global\emergencystretch=5in
>> @end tex
>> and see where this gets you (more likely than not, to unbelievable
>> ugliness).  Or you can try writing raggedright paragraphs.
> Would it be possible to automatically make lines with such problems
> ragged?


> It would probably be less ugly that an overstretched line.  As for
> "rephrasing" strategy, i find it not suited to our needs.  It's good
> for publishers, whose job is to take care of such details when they
> have an almost-ready-to-publish material.  We are not a publishing
> house: we don't want to fiddle with typography in our manuals.  Also,
> the manuals change, and the "rephrasing" solution is not flexible
> enough.

Typography is not magic.  It has to obey the laws of physics.

> Personally, i cannot understand how on Earth one could be satisfied
> with such "i cannot solve this, it's your problem" approach of TeX to
> this issue.

You can't solve the impossible.  Simple as that.  Tex picks the best
solution from a set of solutions permitted by prescribed global and font
parameters.  You get overfull hboxes if the solution set given those
constraints is empty.

> Sure, not all problems can be solved automatically and
> rephrasing paragraphs might indeed be the best option (sometimes).
> But it is always possible to find the least ugly solution: when the
> overfull is not extremely big (< 0.1 line width), why not compress the
> line?  (Sure, it'll be ugly, but not as ugly as leaving it as-is and
> adding a black rectangle.)  When overfull is really big, why not break
> it and make it ragged?

Because the optimization algorithm has to work with a finite set of
possibilities that make sense, and so there is a maximal amount of
stretching permitted into the solution set, defined by the font designer
choosing appropriate space parameters for the font.

> Any idea why TeX isn't smarter in this regard?  After all, if someone
> wants to publish something big in many paper-sizes, it would be crazy
> to apply manual corrections to each size separately.

Tough.  PDFTeX has a few more possibilities to fudge around with in case
of terminally bad output, but the percentage of cases it can rescue in
that manner is limited.  Basically it only helps with borderline bad

David Kastrup

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