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Re: Open Document Environment (ODE)

On Sun, Jan 09, 2000 at 01:05:21AM -0800, Aaron Turner wrote:
> 0) I think a global mailing list for those projects interested in this is
> in order.  I know I'll subscribe.  I'm sure I can get Roger from SEUL to
> sponsor the list on his mail server unless someone feels strongly another
> way.  odo@seul.org perhaps?  Or lodo for Linux Open Doc Org.?  
Since it's a goal of LDP to integrate all Linux Documentation, I would
like to see LDP as the lead organization for this.  We've had a few 
people working on this (or parts of it): David Wheeler, Peter Elliot,
and Paul Jones.

> 1) Having one specific format (Docbook for example) is great from an
> indexing and searching perspective. 

Another problem with Docbook concerns people that use old PCs.
Docbook is slow to compile and uses a lot of memory/disk space.

> Complicated analogies which have color coded sections and things like that
> are confusing, 

Another reason for not using color is that some people still use monochrome

> 7a) Local/LAN/WAN retrieval is going to be hard.  To build a scalable
> infrastructure like this is a huge effort.  

I don't understand this.  By local you must mean that the info is on
your local PC.  Right now all major Linux distributions include the
HOWTOs, Manual Pages, and GNU info docs and these get on local PC hard
disks.  One can go to the HOWTO directory and use grep for searching
all of the words (and phrases) in all of the HOWTOs.  This works
better if the HOWTOs are in plain text format.  But then one has to
repeat this in different directory trees for non-HOWTO docs.  One may
search the Debian "Packages" file to find what software is freely
available and this file contains a paragraph or two about what each
package does.  Someone recently came out with a "whatfor" tool that
tells you what each system file is used for.  Thus we now have methods
of searching Linux documentation locally but it's very crude.  Should
not all this be expanded and improved on?

[Regarding advanced information retrieval tools]
> Realize that 99.99% of the people will never install it locally and 
> probably about 98% will not install it on their LAN.  

Doesn't it depend on the effort needed to install it?  If it's easy to
install and comes with most distributions then I would expect it to be
used a lot.  It's true that you can have a better system on-line but
there's the cost of more traffic on the internet.  This traffic cost
is much less on a local system (LAN or PC-bus).  Both advanced on-line
and simpler local info search systems are needed.

> 14) Document Browser should be a web browser initially. Once you start
> requiring end users to install special software that has other
> requirements (such as a viewer using the GTK or QT libraries), your
> potential userbase shrinks.  Should be Lynx friendly.

A problem with html is that we would like to use free software
browsers like Lynx.  But Lynx is too hard to learn.  At present, plain
text is often the best choice since most people know how to deal with
it.  For html there is a need for grep-like searches on sets of html
files but we don't seem to have this.  Thus I suggest that in addition
to browsing with an HTML browser, that plain text searching be also
available.  In the vim editor one may find the next occurrence of a
word by just having the cursor on it and hitting a certain key.  One
can use this feature something like an html link (even thought it's
plain text).

			David Lawyer

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