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Quote ' as \(aq in manpages

The docbook/xmlto toolchain insists on quoting ' as \'.  This does
achieve the quoting goal, but modern 'man' implementations turn the
apostrophe into a unicode "proper" apostrophe (given the right
circumstances), breaking code examples in many of our manpages.

Quote them as \(aq instead, which is an "apostrophe quote" as per the
groff_char manpage.

Unfortunately, as Anders Kaseorg kindly pointed out, this is not
portable beyond groff, so we add an extra Makefile variable GNU_ROFF
which you need to enable to get the new quoting.

Thanks also to Miklos Vajna for documentation.

Signed-off-by: Thomas Rast <>
Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
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1 parent ba7e814 commit 204d363f5a05bba0bdeb13f96a08d5078dcee820 @trast trast committed with gitster Oct 22, 2009
Showing with 28 additions and 0 deletions.
  1. +8 −0 Documentation/Makefile
  2. +16 −0 Documentation/manpage-quote-apos.xsl
  3. +4 −0 Makefile
8 Documentation/Makefile
@@ -103,6 +103,14 @@ ifdef DOCBOOK_SUPPRESS_SP
XMLTO_EXTRA += -m manpage-suppress-sp.xsl
+# If your target system uses GNU groff, it may try to render
+# apostrophes as a "pretty" apostrophe using unicode. This breaks
+# cut&paste, so you should set GNU_ROFF to force them to be ASCII
+# apostrophes. Unfortunately does not work with non-GNU roff.
+ifdef GNU_ROFF
+XMLTO_EXTRA += -m manpage-quote-apos.xsl
# Shell quote;
SHELL_PATH_SQ = $(subst ','\'',$(SHELL_PATH))
16 Documentation/manpage-quote-apos.xsl
@@ -0,0 +1,16 @@
+<xsl:stylesheet xmlns:xsl=""
+ version="1.0">
+<!-- work around newer groff/man setups using a prettier apostrophe
+ that unfortunately does not quote anything when cut&pasting
+ examples to the shell -->
+<xsl:template name="escape.apostrophe">
+ <xsl:param name="content"/>
+ <xsl:call-template name="string.subst">
+ <xsl:with-param name="string" select="$content"/>
+ <xsl:with-param name="target">'</xsl:with-param>
+ <xsl:with-param name="replacement">\(aq</xsl:with-param>
+ </xsl:call-template>
4 Makefile
@@ -142,6 +142,10 @@ all::
# Define DOCBOOK_XSL_172 if you want to format man pages with DocBook XSL v1.72.
+# Define GNU_ROFF if your target system uses GNU groff. This forces
+# apostrophes to be ASCII so that cut&pasting examples to the shell
+# will work.
# Define NO_PERL_MAKEMAKER if you cannot use Makefiles generated by perl's
# MakeMaker (e.g. using ActiveState under Cygwin).

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