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Re: DOCBOOK-APPS: Re: [Fwd: [Fwd: First Open Source Documentation Summit at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention]]

Thanks for all this clarification ... I am much encouraged by this
reply ...

>>>>> "S" == Sebastian Rahtz <sebastian.rahtz@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk> writes:

    S> ... equally, if you make newspapers, TeX is not for you. come
    S> to that, if you typeset mixed Chinese and Arabic, I doubt if
    S> TeX is for you.

Darn.  There goes my great treatise on a Koranic Taoism!

    S> if you sent me a Docbook XML file, I could "print" it. I could
    S> probably not meet your arbitrary page design; perhaps nothing
    S> could.

That's all I need to know really: If I were to make the jump to XML
and go with these XML tools, I just want assurance that I can get at
least the same results that I now get with DSSSL and OpenJade.

    S> define "commercial quality", in detail and exhaustively, and I
    S> could answer the question. I have typeset a book for a
    S> commercial publisher using XSL FO and TeX. does that prove the
    S> point?

Yes.  What I mean is, jadetex mungs things which change the meaning of
the text and might look amateurish to someone buying a book.  If the
layout parameters are limited, it is no great problem so long as the
layout and rendering is acceptable.  It is like the old 1960's Sears
electric guitar: It only had _one_ sound, but it was a good one.  

Now do understand that for our internal purposes, Jadetex does a great
job, but when I export these docs, I'm getting complaints and this is
most of what prompts me to look for alternatives.

    >> LaTeX or MsWord (some choice!!) --- all the _trade_ publishers
    >> I know only offer MsWord templates although I know of two (Some
    >> Pearson and ORA projects) who accept DocBook directly.

    S> right. so I dont see the urgency of LaTeX output from DB

I agree, and I agree that Knuth's should be that first program from
the "write two, throw the first away", but I suppose I'm just getting
impatient trying to wean myself from LaTeX.

    S> if the publisher cant sort it out, find a different
    S> one. seriously.

Is there more than one?  I thought they'd bought everybody else ;)

Seriously though, this is one project within an otherwise very
DocBook-supportive publishing company, and this project admittedly has
a great deal of legacy albatross around its neck.

    >>  Trivial, but tedious: It doesn't sound like a weekend project
    >> to me ;)

    S> perhaps not. but one could do 95% of it over a weekend.

I'll pay for the beer!

    S> you need to define "quality" as well, now, please :-}

Something I could give an exec at Bell Canada and not have them think
I'm nuts.  They do anyway, but I don't want to give them another
reason.  When we are presenting open source to our corporate clients,
there is an initial presentation barrier to address and every little
bit helps us get their attention.  True, LaTeX makes _everything_ look
like an academic paper, but that is better than looking like a MsWorks
document.  Ideally, I'd want to take any arbitrary Linux doc from
linuxdoc.org and run it through a process that prints as nicely as
an IBM Redbook.

    S> why do you regard XML and SGML as different, in this context?

Not the document, but the tools, and acronym confusion.  I suppose
what I really mean is XSL vs DSSSL.  I know I can proceed with
OpenJade but the output is dissappointing and it does not seem good
sense to spend the time fighting it when the XSL world is rapidly
overtaking the DSSSL world. I wonder if a better investment is to
apply ourselves to the XSL-based tools instead.

    S> sorry if I seem to be eluding the issue, but whether TeX-based
    S> solutions meet your need depends on what you those needs are.

No, you're not eluding, and thanks for all this clarification.  First
off, I realize you're not using the same tools that we are using, but
the synopsis you've given here I think answers my questions.  It does
seem like there are options for XML/XSL process within a _fairly_
wide range of applications.  

Is it fair to say, for our purposes of documenting open source
software, FOP is already a viable (TeX-free?) alternative to
OpenJade/jadetex for rendering DocBook to the various formats?

    S> I typeset my daughters primary school newsletter using TeX,
    S> from an XML master file. I translate it to TeX using XSL.  is
    S> that commercial?

Primary school parents can get pretty vicious!

Gary Lawrence Murphy <garym@teledyn.com> TeleDynamics Communications Inc
Business Innovations Through Open Source Systems: http://www.teledyn.com
"Computers are useless.  They can only give you answers."(Pablo Picasso)

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