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Re: man pages and tbl

Subject: Re: man pages and tbl
From: Werner LEMBERG
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2007 06:19:26 +0100 CET
> >> Some time ago I was investigating the internal viewer code which
> >> deals with man pages. I asked myself the same question and if I
> >> remember correctly I found that invoking "tbl" is not necessary
> >> since most processors already invoke it or something

As far as I know, `nroff' (which is used in mc.ext) *never* calls a
preprocessor by its own.  It would behave differently to the `troff'
binary which is not intended here.

> > I recall some comment to the effect that one or more of the *BSD's
> > (such as OpenBSD) do not invoke tbl automatically.
> There is this other thing too ... The man page may require more
> processors than just tbl to properly format the output.  Solaris man
> pages are example of that - they contain tables at the end which are
> not properly processed by MC.

Perhaps you aren't aware how man pages have to look to get a
preprocessor invoked automatically.  From groff_man(7):

  If a preprocessor like tbl or eqn is needed, it has become usage to
  make the first line of the man page look like this:

    .\" word

  Note the single space character after the double quote.  word
  consists of letters for the needed preprocessors: `e' for eqn, `r'
  for refer, and `t' for tbl.  Modern implementations of the man
  program read this first line and automatically call the right

Thus my suggestion to directly call `man' instead of `nroff'.

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