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quotation characters in the Octave sources

From: John W. Eaton
Subject: quotation characters in the Octave sources
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2019 16:01:41 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/60.7.1

Recently I've noticed the use of various characters for quotation marks in the Octave sources, including ASCII apostrophe, grave accent, acute accent, and Unicode left/right single quotation marks. I'd like to come up with a uniform guideline for these characters, fix the sources, and try to stick with it in the future.

A complete discussion of the issue may be found here


Briefly, in the old days, we used `' (ASCII grave and acute accents) when surrounding words with single quote characters. It wasn't correct usage, but they were displayed by X11 as left/right single quotation characters and I think Texinfo also displayed them as matched quotation characters, so they appeared to be the right thing and were easily accessible characters on US/ASCII keyboards. But then X11 changed and these characters are now displayed (correctly) as grave accent (slanted) and apostrophe (neutral) so in addition to being the wrong combination of characters, they look terrible together.

Once that change was made, I think we started simply using the ascii apostrophe character like 'this'. I'd like to fix the sources to use that convention again. Does anyone object or have a better suggestion? No matter what we decide, I'd like to have consistent usage in the source files.


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