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Re: If SGML is so great...

On Tue, May 02, 2000 at 12:14:43PM -0700, Gary Preckshot wrote:
> A lot of people say that the reason it's so good is it can
> be converted to virtually anything else. Then they launch
> into a religious war for their favorite format.
> All of this is irrelevant. If it can be converted into
> anything, then one honker of a machine (owned by an LDP
> sponsor) can take all the SGML and turn it into the format
> de jour. It's a non issue.

Why do that?  Why move from a format that can be translated into
anything to one that can't?
> Likewise, if SGML can be translated into anything else, the
> reverse translation can be done into a subset of SGML.

No, it can't.  sgml markup describes the content and meaning of your
text, while most other text formats describe the *formatting* of your
text.  Translating one way is easy, translating the other way is very
complex and error-prone and almost impossible to do consistently.

> isn't any reason for LDP to require SGML. Anything that can
> be translated into SGML should be acceptable. LDP can use
> SGML internally, but there isn't any justifiable reason for
> imposing it or DocBook on HOWTO authors. This is the year
> 2000 after all, and beloved 486s can be replaced by machines
> with 100 times the memory, disk, and speed for $1500. Just
> because some authors can't afford it is no reason to limit
> those who can and will.

Full of misconceptions, all answered, IMO, by the points above.  BTW, I
write using a 450mhz machine with 128mb of memory.  I don't use sgml as
the core format because it saves space but because it saves time.

> I'm really puzzled by the stick-in-the-mud attitude of some
> of the people on this forum.

What's puzzling is your aggressive tone on this subject.

> It's possible to cater to the
> people with older machines AND advance the ability of LDP to
> accommodate modern formats.

There's nothing wrong with the quality of the LDP documentation.  It's
clear, accessible and consistent.  And sgml is a modern format.

> There really isn't any need for these irrelevant arguments.
> Sure, SGML is wonderful. But some of us just want to write a
> simple mini-HOWTO that doesn't use all the bells and
> whistles. Why should we be forced to learn yet another page
> description language when all we want to do is write?

You don't have to.  Use Lyx.  Not only will it do sgml for you it'll do
Latex as well and all you have to do is learn how to use a
Word-processor that's far simpler to use than Word, Wordperfect etc.


It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that
his head smells.

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