bugGNU roff - Bugs: bug #61055, [me] Explain how -me documents can...


bug #61055: [me] Explain how -me documents can use groff's unlimited number of environments

Submitter:  Dave <barx>
Submitted:  Wed 18 Aug 2021 01:04:37 PM UTC
Category:  Macro package me Severity:  1 - Wish
Item Group:  Documentation Status:  None
Privacy:  Public Assigned to:  None
Open/Closed:  Open Planned Release:  None
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Wed 18 Aug 2021 01:04:37 PM UTC, original submission:  

In olden days, when the -me macro set was written, troff offered only three environments (.ev request), numbered 0, 1, and 2.  In its implementation, the -me macro set uses these historical environments internally for things such as page headers and footers and footnotes.  This meant that in historical troff, environments were unavailable to end users of -me.

Groff changed this situation by expanding the number of environments from three to infinity.  The -me documentation was never updated to reflect this new situation.

This might be OK.  A number of things that troff itself associates with an environment (such as type size and line spacing), -me stores in registers, which are always global across environments.  Many -me macros (such as the various paragraph macros: .pp, .lp, .ip, etc.) set these attributes based on the respective registers every time they're invoked.  So properties that are per-environment in troff tend to be global under normal -me usage.  (See http://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/groff/2012-03/msg00005.html for more about this.)

Conversely, it might make sense to go ahead and document the expanded environment functionality now available to -me users, even though it won't act precisely as in generic troff.

If it is decided that the documentation should be so updated, new text would need to explain the use of environments in -me, and how to avoid colliding with -me's internal use of environments.  Additionally:

  • "environments" would need to be added to the -Me Reference Manual's opening paragraph telling what general troff knowledge the manual presumes
  • the .ev and .evc requests should be added to the manual's index, which includes, in addition to all the macros -me defines, "selected troff requests... [that] can generally be used with impunity."

(This issue was tangentially mentioned in comment 6 of bug #55060.)

Dave <barx>
Group Member


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