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Re: Texinfo help, please

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Texinfo help, please
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2012 09:48:01 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:

> On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 08:01:52AM +0200, David Kastrup wrote:
>> Graham Percival <address@hidden> writes:
>> > Sorry, I should have specified "absolutely no way to get ---
>> > without any mixing of content and layout commands".  I think we
>> > should minimize any layout-specific commands in our docs.
>> It's not like you could not put this into the @file macro.  It would
>> just mean that if TeX breaks before the file, the line above will be
>> short.  Which is what you stated you wanted.
> Huh, for some reason that completely slipped my mind.  Yes, that
> sounds ideal!

Nope, it will be ugly.  Since we are talking about a bad break and a
long name, it means that you first have a right-justified paragraph,
then a half line, then a line with a file name sticking out to the right
of the half line and followed by more material, then the rest of the
paragraph, all within the same grid of lines in constant distance, in a
single paragraph.

Butt-ugly.  It would be much better to put the file name separately in
@example or whatever.  Or not place it 1.5 lines into a paragraph.
Really.  Why do you insist on half-baked uglinesses when nobody could
tell the difference when light rewrite puts the file name in a place
where it does not cause problems?

Computers can't do magic, typesetting can't do magic.  Deal with it by
don't asking them for it rather than trying to invent complex schemes
for marginally reducing the awfulness of the result for an imprudent

> (at least as far as my desires for the docs go, but others may
> prefer the docs to look another way.  Anybody object?)

Yes.  I am not interested in picking among awful choices.  Yes, this
means proofreading.  That's what the warnings and black rectangles are
intended for.

> Acknowledged.  I meant no insult by searching around on my own;
> it's just that "consider rewriting the sentence" seemed like such
> a sub-optimal answer that I wanted to check other sources.

How about Knuth's TeXbook?  He does not tell a different story.

I find the following quotations

    When the author objects to [a hyphenation]\/
    he should be asked to add or cancel or substitute
    a word or words that will prevent the breakage.
    Authors who insist on even spacing always,
    with sightly divisions always,
    do not clearly understand the rigidity of types.
    \author T. L. ^{DE VINNE}, {\sl Correct Composition\/} (1901) % p138, p206


    In reprinting his own works, whenever [William ^{Morris}]\/
    found a line that justified awkwardly, he altered the wording
    solely for the sake of making it look well in print.
    When a proof has been sent me with two or three
    lines so widely spaced as to make a grey band across the page,
    I have often rewritten the passage so as to fill up the lines better;
    but I am sorry to say that my object has generally been so little
    understood that the compositor has spoilt all the rest
    of the paragraph instead of mending his former bad work.
    \author GEORGE BERNARD ^{SHAW}, in {\sl The Dolphin\/} (1940) % v4 p80

While he does not explicitly write it in the TeXbook, in some
publication or talk or informal discussion he mentioned that he did
rewrite some material, partly several times, to make it fit the
constraints of format and paper.

>> > Anyway, my current understanding is that there are three realistic
>> > options:
>> >
>> > 1)
>> > ----------- linewidth ------
>> > from    some     kind     of
>> > emergency-stretch-tweak
>> > ----------- linewidth ------
>> With the stretch consolidated over several lines usually.
> ah, I hadn't realized that.

If TeX considers a line "infinitely bad", it will prefer one really
awful infinitely bad line over several not so awful ones.  But other
than that, it tries to employ the whole paragraph for making things

David Kastrup

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