On Thursday 23 October 2008 2:07:35 am Warren Block wrote:
> On Thu, 23 Oct 2008, Gonzalo Nemmi wrote:
> > On Thursday 23 October 2008 12:12:23 am Matt Emmerton wrote:
> >> Perhaps, but since the roots of *BSD are in the USA, letter was a
> >> sensible default (at the time).
> >
> > That's a fact and I couldn't agree more with your assertion.
> >
> >> Now, if a collection of FreeBSD members from ISO 216 adopting companies
> >> wanted to figure out a way to put "default paper size" into some kind of
> >> locale option that man (and other tools) could use, then that would go a
> >> long way towards reducing the pain.
> >
> > Now, and taking into consideration your 100% correct assumption and the
> > fact that "letter was a sensible default (at the time)" wouldn't it make
> > a lot more sense to do it the other way around?
> Given history and POLA, probably not.

With all due respect, history  changes .. it's in its nature .. and I not 
claiming authority in anyway whatsoever (if that's what POLA stands for). Im 
just saying there might be room for improvement and that switching from 
non-standard "letter" to standard ISO 216 does represent and improvement 

> > I mean .. What about figuring out a way to put "default paper size =
> > letter" into some kind of locale option that man (and other tools) could
> > use and turn the ISO 216 standard into the default option?
> Having a new default that is different from the historical one can be a
> problem for legacy stuff.

100% agreed ...

Brainstorming .. im thinking maybe there should be no app defined default (in 
this case).. Maybe you just threw the key on the table .. and default should 
be what an enviromental setting says default should be (PAGESIZE=letter, 
PAGESIZE=a4) and not what the apps thinks it should be ... Furthermore .. 
maybe the app should halt if it finds no enviromental setting is available 
and ask the user to set it in order to know how to proceed.
Just brainstorming..

Nothing is farther from the truth than me or than whatever comes from my mind.

> > I don't work for an ISO 216 adopting company, and hopefully I never will,
> > I don't speak for them, and hopefully I never will ... I'm just a citizen
> > of the long list of countries who adhere to the ISO 216 and I'd really
> > like to see FreeBSD apps slowly turn to use ISO 216 by default (or at
> > least provide a painless flag like -pa4 or the likes) instead of
> > non-standard formats which only benefit a portion of it's user base,
> > putting the rest of us to stretchs in order to get optimal results.
> Don't mistake the lack of a feature like global page size settings for a
> refusal.  Maybe it's hard to do, or there just hasn't been enough need
> to motivate someone to implement it.

Never did, never will. It resides in the very nature of OSS that refusals are 
nothing but a mere illusion .. As you implied in your aforemention paragraph 
it only takes motivated individuals to turn refusals into realities.
> The strength of open source software is that users can make improvements
> they need.  So consider this your opportunity to help.

Exactly... and I think I just begun to do that :)

> A good start would just be determining which programs need to be
> modified.  A check for similar work in other operating systems would be
> very useful.  Finally, a proposal for the way to implement the change,
> and maybe even patches.

Well .. we seem to have a start about which programs need to be modified ...
It gets a little tougher regarding other operting system given that FreeBSD is 
the only one running on my only PC :'(

Thanks for your expert advise Warren (I mean it). I'll dedicate the next few 
days to think on a scheme to solve this issue in the most elegant, less prone 
to error and less disruptive way to solve this matter, altough, at least at 
first glance, letting an eviromental setting define the size of the page to 
use seems to be most friendly and transparent way to let the user decide the 
size of the page to use with out too much hassel.

I would really like to know what do you think about that approach.

> -Warren Block * Rapid City, South Dakota USA

Gonzalo Nemmi
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