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Re: On the masking of undisplayable characters

From: Artur Malabarba
Subject: Re: On the masking of undisplayable characters
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2015 20:57:08 +0100

> What characters are you talking about, specifically?

Round quotes were displayed as hard quotes. The reason this happened on my pc was a bug, but I understand that for systems that really can't display them this is what will happen.

I didn't check whether this applies to any other characters. I was just surprised to find out the file was not being displayed as-is without so much as a notice.

> It's hard to respond without knowing the details.  Most of the uses of
> display tables I know of are there for ages, so adding some kind of
> message about that now would seem inappropriate.  (And when exactly do
> we display that message? when the character is first displayed?)

When visiting the file and when the character is typed for the first time, would be an option.

> Then again, I think you might be over-reacting a bit:

Perhaps. I didn't mean to sound dramatic.
If this only happens for quotes it's less of an issue, but it could grow with time.

I'm saying that I (and maybe other people) expect that the contents of a buffer are reflected in what's displayed. I'm perfectly fine with modes and options that change that (like prettify-symbols, for instance), but having this masking as a default surprised me quite a bit.

> Emacs always
> displayed special characters specially.  Think about the ^X control
> characters,

That's fine. When I see a blue ^X, I know that's a control character, it's very clear that it's not a ^ with an X.

> the glyphless-char-display feature,

I don't know which characters are affected by this.

> composed characters,

You mean like a non-spacing ` and a looking like an à? The non-spacing characters are specifically designed to do that, it's not the same as displaying one quote as another quote.

> even the newline. 

You mean that \n and \r\n are displayed the same way? Yeah, I've been bit several times by it, but at least it's indicated in the mode line.

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