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From: "G. Branden Robinson" <>
To: "Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)" <>
Cc: linux-man <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] drop spurious t comment header
Date: Fri, 24 Jul 2020 22:15:58 +1000
Message-ID: <20200724121555.e4l2okob3x3fzk5z@localhost.localdomain> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

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At 2020-07-24T12:13:33+0200, Michael Kerrisk (man-pages) wrote:
> On Fri, 24 Jul 2020 at 02:03, G. Branden Robinson
> <> wrote:
> > it is a hint to the man
> > program to preprocess the man page text through tbl.
> Yes, that's my understanding. But I believe that these days it's no
> longer needed(?). tbl(1) just gets used as needed, regardless of the
> presence of the 't' comment, right?

[A few "strace -f -e execve"s later...]

Hmm, for the man-db man(1) in Debian bullseye (testing), at least, this
is true!  And checking its own man page, it looks like it was true as
far back as April 2001 (the horizon of its Git history).

I guess there are so many man pages that embed tables without including
the hint that the man-db maintainers decided not to leave the comment to
chance.  The only other man-like program I know if in anything like wide
use on Linux systems is mandoc, which does all its own parsing and
doesn't depend on a *roff at all.

Retaining an accurate comment would be a kindness to other man
implementations I'm not aware of and to weirdos like me who run groff
directly because we develop it (though admittedly, even for us, there is
the crutch of grog(1)).  But I'll grant--these populations may be small.

> See my comments above. For 15 years or at least, I've not paid any
> attention to adding the 't' comments when I added tables to pages, and
> I do recall anyone reporting ill effects. So, I'm inclined to apply
> Mike's patch, but will hold off a moment, in case there's other
> feedback.

Sounds fair.


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  reply index

Thread overview: 7+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2020-07-23 21:53 Mike Frysinger
2020-07-24  0:03 ` G. Branden Robinson
2020-07-24 10:13   ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2020-07-24 12:15     ` G. Branden Robinson [this message]
2020-07-24 12:30       ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)
2020-07-24 13:13         ` Stefan Puiu
2020-07-24 15:17           ` Michael Kerrisk (man-pages)

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