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Re: If SGML is so great...

On Tue, 2 May 2000, 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.

Mine is SGML or XML because I can then compile it for use on my Linux
boxen or on my Psion (PDA) :).

> 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.

Exactly why I like SGML :).

> Likewise, if SGML can be translated into anything else, the
> reverse translation can be done into a subset of SGML. There
> isn't any reason for LDP to require SGML. Anything that can

That's like suggesting I give you my kernel image in order for you to
reverse engineer it and recompile it for your box. What happens when you
need support that I didn't have compile into my kernel? That source and
functionality is lost in the translation, so you would have to regenerate
it from scratch. BTW, I should mention that my kernel is for Motorola PPC
:). The SGML is the source code with support for all the architectures
we're using.

> be translated into SGML should be acceptable. LDP can use

If we had a team of editors to do make sure the translation to SGML was
complete I'd agree. To the best of my knowledge we don't, though :(.

I'm currently working on a sys_adm guide for an Open Source training
company and am working with an editor who's been doing tech pubs for more
than 10 years. Her company accepts texts in whatever format they can get
them, but they have a team of employees to do the markup
after-the-fact. If we had that it wouldn't matter much for technical

> 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.

For most people working in computer stuff in the US that's a possibility,
but we can't require it since not everybody makes gobs of cash :). You're
right, however, in thinking that we can provide tools that take advantage
of being on bigger, faster machines for those who have them so long as
those who have *only* slow machines can also work on it. So far the only
technical requirements we have are a text editor and access to the
internet. I'm certain we'd be willing to accept floppies by mail if the
latter were problematic ;-).

> grunt work, not me. First there was machine language, which
> got tiresome fast. Then there was assembly language, which
> still gets tiresome. Then there was C. I was there for all
> of it. Now there are higher level languages than C. SGML is
> the assembly language of document preparation. I'd like to
> use the C of document preparation at least.

SGML/XML is the object oriented language of choice. It's definitely not
assembly language. It *is* a high level language.


#  der.hans@LuftHans.com   home.pages.de/~lufthans/   www.OpNIX.com
#  A t-shirt a day keeps the noose (tie) away. - der.hans

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