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RE: Authorship

Hi Gary and everybody,

Just a couple of notes to the main points (> is Gary's, >> is mine):

>>SGML tools: the second paragraph here, I think, is needless. If a
>>prospective LDP author does not know how to download files from the
Internet, then
>>he/she has much to learn before qualifying for an author. I also do not
>>understand what "If [...] your preferred operating system is Linux" means:
what else
>>would it be?

>One symptom of extreme geekness is assuming that people know how to do
>things the author knows how to do or that the system set up the author has is
>be-all and
>end-all and anybody who doesn't have it is nobody. This section was in
>there because HOWTOs are not for people who already know how to, but for
>who don't. Likewise, a lot of people who currently have Windows read the
>howtos. What
>would their preferred operating system be? A geek would say if they're
>using Windows they're hopeless, and piss off a potential convert. Lets not
>untoward assumptions. LILO is there for a reason, and some programs on
>work more simply and better that those on Linux. It's a sign that Linux
>should be improved, nothing more.

I was talking about potential HOWTO authors. You are talking about potential
HOWTO readers.

>>I do not think we should recommend tools but rather list them. I
>>particularly do not like the conclusion: if you have money and you also
>>have Windows, use WordPerfect. Let the author decide what he/she likes.
>>(By the way, if you have money and Windows, you can choose from
>>professional SGML/XML editors - XMetaL from SoftQuad is one.)

>The biggest weakness of the HOWTO-HOWTO, besides being out-of-date when
>it was written, is the shotgun approach to listing everything in sight. For
>instance, sgmltools is listed and there's nothing that tells you it works
>with LinuxDoc. I'm not recommending these tools, but simply saying which
>well together.

Quote from your HOWTO-HOWTO:
"WordPerfect 9

Recommended for those with money and a multi-boot machine including Windows"

My English is far from being purrfict but it looks like a recommendation to

>>If we still want to recommend tools, the order should be:
>>open source tools on Linux,
>>free tools on Linux,
>>commercial tools on Linux,
>>the rest.
>>Why? Because we are doing Linux here.

>Provincial. We should list anything that works, with pros and cons. If
>something is better than open source tools, then open source tools should
look into
>upgrading their tools. The FSF isn't about provincialism, it's about
>sharing the best information about programming we can find.

>Linux is not going to win the battle of the OSs because you or we support
>It's going to win because it's best and the tools available for it are best.
>It won't get best by being provincial.

Perhaps I was not precise enough here. Give me another chance to explain it:
HOWTOs are about how to do something on Linux. It is possible (and, in some
cases, absolutely sure) that a certain task can be accomplished more quickly,
or more
easily, or more anything on a different OS, say Windows. However, a Linux
will only cover the topic on Linux. Windows users will not turn to a Linux
HOWTO if they have a problem.
The HOWTO-HOWTO is also a HOWTO, although a special one. It is not about
"sharing the best information about" writing in DocBook. It is Linux-oriented,
if you like, Linux-biased.
This is what I meant by "we are doing Linux here".
Is this provincialism?

A practical note: I do not quite see how to write about a Linux theme while
using Windows. For me, it would involve rebooting the machine every ten
or so.

>>vi is definitely also an option.

>vi is an option only if you are into pain.
There are tools that are hard to learn then powerful to use. There are tools
that are easy to learn then hard to use. There are many more kinds of tools.
vi is pain to learn but very powerful to use.
If you already know it, it may be easier to you to learn DocBook than to
learn another editor. Of course, you should not learn vi for DocBook's sake.
But vi (or any other editor you know) is an option for writing in DocBook.

>>Things will definitely change when we move to XML: we will have more tools.

>If wishes were horses, then beggars could ride.

Good to know.
What I meant was there are much more XML editors than SGML editors.

>>Writing SGML by hand: "We will say that only ironmen write SGML documents
>>using only a text editor." Is knowing DocBook a shame?

>No. It's stupid. Why learn something a tool can do for you? To show your
>That went out in the middle ages with hair shirts.
I see.

>>Demystifying SGML: I do not really understand the purpose of this section.
>>Who mystified SGML in the first place?

>You all did. LDP describing SGML is like blind men describing an elephant.
I like this "you all" :-)

We agree on one thing: the HOWTO-HOWTO should be better (bigger). Mark did a
good job to write it in the first place but things got more complicated
with DocBook.


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