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RE: Requiring use of DocBook; LinuxDoc

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gary Preckshot []
> Sent: Sunday, June 25, 2000 8:36 PM
> To: LDP
> Subject: Re: Requiring use of DocBook; LinuxDoc
> > 
> > So far I count one person.  Two if you include yourself. 
> That's not "a lot".
> Strangely enough, Norman Walsh thought there were enough
> people confused by DocBook that he produced a "simplified
> DocBook." My comment implied that he was probably the only

Read his page again.  One more time.  I'll even quote it here so that you
don't have to go look it up.
"Over the years, the notion of a "simple" DocBook subset has come up, uh,
more than once ;-)."

>From a number of online chats with Norm, and from reading the things that he
posts, I don't get the feeling that he thinks it's too complicated, but that
many other people think so.  

> > > > * As a documentation writer, you need only care about 
> your DocBook. DSSSL is
> > >
> > > I need feedback. The ultimate objective is putting out
> > > documentation that people can read, is it not? If I don't
> > > know what effect the tags will have on the final product,
> > > I'm running open-loop.
> > 
> > You shouldn't care what the output look like, as long as 
> it's legible.  That's
> > part of the glory of SGML over .doc or .rtf.  There was a usability
> > study a few years ago between TeX authors and MSWord 
> writers. The MSWord
> > people took much longer (maybe twice as long) because they 
> spent that extra
> > time arranging items on the page, while the TeX folk didn't 
> have to worry
> > about it.
> That's a lot different than knowing what it will look like.
> I still need to know something about the effect. If DocBook
> is more efficient at achieving the effect that I want, I'm
> all for it. However, I still need to know that what I'm
> putting down will be some reasonable relation to what else I
> write. With DocBook, the formatting software fulfills the
> function of a very efficient secretary. I've always wanted
> to see what was going out before approving final release.

By installing the DSSSL tools, you've got a pretty good idea what it will
look like.  I don't know anything about writing books, but Gary Lawrence
Murphy does, so I'll ask "Do authors get a say in exactly what gets

> SGML has another danger that has dogged authors since time
> immemorial. That is, being quoted out of context. With the
> markup, interested parties can pull anything they want out
> of your work, and you may have no recourse.

SGML doesn't do any worse than any other format for this threat.  grep pulls
things completely without context, without even any bearing on the complete
sentence, only on what line it's on.  SGML has the potential to make finding
the context easier, not harder.

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