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Re: HTML HOWTOs and Re: CD edition

On May 5, 12:26am, David Lawyer wrote:
> Subject: Re: HTML HOWTOs and Re: CD edition
> > On Apr 30, 11:03pm, David Lawyer wrote:
> > > Subject: HTML HOWTOs and Re: CD edition
> > ...
> > Note that a gzipped tar file is also created which is a package
> > of all the single-file HTML docs.
> >
> > The question is "should the files themselves and/or the tar
> > packages be mirrored...."?
> With data compression used on most modems, tar doesn't save much
> bandwidth anymore.  Since disk space is cheap, the major cost would be
> the bandwidth costs for updating the mirror sites.  But people who
> download HOWTOs from their local mirror site (instead of from Metalab)
> would conserve bandwidth.  So I think it's a good idea.  Since
> packages of all the HOWTOs come with various distributions of Linux I
> think we should supply individual HOWTOs for downloading from the
> mirror sites.  For those who don't know, we now don't supply any
> HOWTOs for downloading from the mirror sites.  If we do this we would
> be supplying single-file HTMLs from the mirrors.

Sure we do. Currently the tar package for the HTML HOWTOs,
(the multi-file HOWTOs) are available on the mirror sites and
do not require being pulled from our host machine.

> Should they be tarred?  If not, then they could be used for on-line
> browsing and anyone who wanted a copy would use the browser to save
> it.

The tar packages are nice for those that want to grab
the entire set quickly/easily (for offline browsing or

> But this wastes bandwidth for those that only read a small part
> of one.  One solution is to have 2 ways to read on-line: HTML-split
> (most efficient --what we do now) and HTML-single (can easily save it
> with the browser).  To encourage efficiency, I would only say "read
> HOWTOs online" for the split ones.
> Another issue is that of small HOWTOs.  There isn't much point in
> splitting a 10k HOWTO up into 10@ 1k chunks.  If someone reads even
> half of this small split-HOWTO they probably use more bandwidth in
> overhead than they save by transferring less text-data.  For this case
> they are better off reading the single-HOWTO.  But how to easily
> implement this?

Not easy. The split is based on document structure (when
processed). I suppose we could do something like -

   if the file size of the single-file HTML variant is less
   then X bytes, replace the multi-file HOWTO of the same name.

I'm more inclined to remain consistent with the presentation,
however - even if that means 1K chunks (just my opinion).

> One could also argue in favor of plain text which is what I use but
> with possible future interlinking between HOWTOs, I would vote for
> Since we have been giving people only the split html-howtos for
> downloading, I guess it's OK to keep doing this.  But now we give them
> a choice.  Most people who understand this option should take the
> single html-HOWTOs since they are easier to search when using a
> browser.  Also there are a lot fewer files to find with ls (or
> locate).  Thus the distribution of the split ones should be of little
> interest.  Except that the split ones are used for on-line reading to
> conserve bandwidth and are sent to all mirror sites for this purpose.

Ok, so based on those comments, I believe that the tar package(s)
for both the split AND single-file HOWTOs should be made available
from the mirrors.

What about the single-file files themselves (not just the tar file)?
I think they should probably remain accessible only off the host
machine (and not mirrored).

> From the way it looks now in docs.html#howto most people might just
> choose "HTML" and not understand what is meant by "single-file".  Thus
> I think that the split ones need to be called "HTML - split" with the
> "single-file" ones coming first.  There are probably a few sites that
> have added useful material to the indexes that need the split ones
> (although they could generate them from the .sgml files).  Eventually,
> "HTML - single file" could be changed to just HTML since they would be
> used much more than the split ones.

Yes, but the split ones are still the primary browseable
docs, right? That's what you said earlier in your msg (if
I read it correctly).

So, in summary (correct this if I misunderstood) :

  * mirror the split HOWTOs for (primary) browsing         -- DONE
  * mirror the tar files containing the split HOWTOs       -- DONE
  * keep the single-file HOWTOs on the host only           -- DONE
  * mirror the tar files containing the single-file HOWTOs -- OPEN


Greg Ferguson     - s/w engr / mtlhd         | gferg@sgi.com
SGI Tech Pubs     - http://techpubs.sgi.com  | 
Linux Doc Project - http://www.linuxdoc.org  |

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