[rfc-i] [IAB Trac] #266: Requirement for "Clear Printing"

Julian Reschke julian.reschke at gmx.de
Tue Feb 19 00:40:22 PST 2013

On 2013-02-19 01:56, RJ Atkinson wrote:
> On 17  Feb 2013, at 03:17 , Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>> Earlier, Joel Halpern wrote:
>>> The underlying requirement we are discussing is for printability.
>>> It does seem to me that we need a clear requirement tat things be
>>> printable.  That does not mean it has to have page numbers.  It
>>> does seem to me to mean that things should be printable on both
>>> US Letter and A4 paper.  (I doubt it means printable on any form
>>> factor paper someone happens to have handy.)
>> Well no, although a reflowable format could be printed on a wide
>> variety of paper sizes. But to me, a requirement for printing on
>> both A4 and US Letter only has meaning if you require the same
>> pagination on both; otherwise, why bother?  And that means that
>> there are page numbers, either printed or implied.
> This is what I was trying to get at, albeit I was not expressing
> myself as clearly as Brian is.   If something prints "equally well"
> on A4 and on US-Letter, that does imply that the pagination
> would be the same on either paper size, whether that pagination
> is explicit with printed numbers or implicit in how the unnumbered
> pages get printed out.
> As a publication series with global scope, I think RFCs
> ought to print "equally well" on both US-Letter and A4
> paper sizes.  Anything less puts one or another part of
> our community on unequal ground, which seems very undesirable.
> We've avoided that particular inequality problem for a long while
> now, which seems like a huge feature to me.
>> Let's be clear, once we allow non-ASCII art and variable width
>> fonts, this no longer has anything to do with the number of
>> lines on a page or characters per line.
> I can accept that:
> - RFCs might have multiple file formats.  In fact, they
>    already have multiple file formats.  RFC-1305 is a great
>    example.  So that is not an issue in my mind.
> - RFCs that have a more complex file-format (e.g. PDF,
>    Postscript, or similar) will be able to display some
>    things (e.g. artwork, equations) in a more readable
>    (or perhaps more pretty) way than RFCs.  Again, RFC-1305
>    is a great example.  The equations are MUCH more readable
>    in PDF than in text/plain ASCII.  So again, this is not
>    an issue in my mind.
> - RFCs might be offered in more than one text/plain format.
>    So if the RFC Editor chose to have more than one text/plain
>    format, that's fine with me.
> - Some format other than text/plain might be "preferred",
>    whatever that word might might mean.
> - The RFC Editor might choose to support a broader character
>    set than US-ASCII (i.e., ANSI X3.4) -- for example some
>    might want ISO-8859-* or ISO-10646 in order to be able
>    to print people's names more accurately -- provided it
>    is a standard character set.
>> We could have a fun conversation about fonts, point sizes and kerning.
> I'd rather avoid that swamp, if possible.
> I definitely don't want to make sophisticated assumptions
> about "all printers" supporting variable fonts, variable
> point sizes, or kerning -- at least for the text/plain
> format that I'd like to see.
>>> Is it sufficient that there be a printable form? Should we require that
>>> all forms be printable?  What other constraints go with "clear"?
>> IMHO it is necessary and sufficient that the canonical form prints
>> reproducibly on A4 and US Letter using widely available font(s).
> I am still thinking about how to more crisply and clearly
> specify what I mean by "clear printing".  So what follows
> might change a bit after I read more and think more.  I'm
> not yet confident enough to use the word "sufficient",
> but I have a draft definition for "necessary" below.
> I believe my definition (below) is consistent with Brian's
> intended meaning, but perhaps I am misunderstanding him.
> I think it is necessary that any future RFC be available
> in a text/plain format that prints:
> * equally well on either A4 or US-Letter paper,

"equally bad"?


Best regards, Julian

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