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Re: Rep:Re: Permission to submit HOWTO

Joe Cooper wrote:
> Though I am loathe to feed the troll, I can't let it go unanswered.

You never met a nicer, more constructive troll. I
don't flame people, and my post was accurate.

> Gary Preckshot wrote:
> >
> > 1) the LDP is moving vaguely in the direction of
> > DocBook 3.1.
> No vagueness here Gary.  DocBook is the preferred markup of the LDP.
> Because it is a volunteer organization, other formats may be accepted.
> LinuxDoc will be accepted for historical reasons.

That isn't clear from the H-H. For example,
LinuxDos is given a whole section, while DocBook
has nothing.

> > 2) it would be nice if some volunteers did markup
> > for new authors, but there's no roster of
> > volunteers.
> Are you volunteering?  How about you start keeping the list.

It's something the LDP servers should support.

> > 3) LinuxDoc is sorta on its way out, but it's
> > still the only DTD sorta featured in the H-H.
> > DocBook is mentioned, but not featured.
> Hmmm...I think Mark has said several times that he is working on it.
> Get over it Gary.  Either contribute to the H-H in a non-volatile manner
> (i.e. don't tell people to rush out and buy WP/Win or they're big fat
> stupidheads) or just shut up about it.

First off, I never proposed that people buy
WP/Win, I just showed it worked a lot better than
any of you suspected. I acknowledged a post that
pointed out that emacs with psgml worked ok.
Third, I never made an ad homonym attack on
anybody as you just did on me.
> > 4) it's not clear which tags are to be used,
> > there's a lot of talk about using SGML in search
> > engines, but beyond DSSSL, the LDP doesn't appear
> > to be using the capabilities of SGML.
> I think the template is quite helpful.  What's wrong with it?  Have you
> sent your suggested changes to the author?

I sent an entire template called example.sgm to
Mark as part of the H-H markup I sent him. What's
wrong with Stein's template: 1) it doesn't
demonstrate the use of many of the 300 tags in
DocBook. To be fair, neither does example.sgm.
However, I think David Merrill or somebody else
has undertaken to extend example.sgm. That's fine
with me. 2) There's a lot of extraneous text in
the template, detracting from its use as a working
skeleton. 3) There are various versions floating
around. New submissions should be in DocBook 3.1.
LinuxDoc versions just confuse matters. To quote
yourself, "Get over LinuxDoc, Joe."

> > 5) because of rugged individualists using straight
> > text editors to write SGML manually, there's a
> > move afoot to use a non-standard version of
> > DocBook without many end tags and reduced nesting.
> > The effect of this on the virtual search
> > capability is unknown. The main reason for this
> > move is to avoid typing.
> Damn those individualists.  Always ruining our good time.  Gary, a lot
> of people do not want to use WordPerfect for Windows to write their
> Howto's.  Get over it already!  No one is trying to tell you not to use
> WP/Win...How about leaving us vi users in peace and stop acting like
> we're doing harm to the LDP by using command line tools.

Emacs runs on all sorts of platforms and can be
used on Linux. From what at least one poster has
said, it's very good. LDP is being held back by
rugged individualists who are determined to write
in raw SGML no matter what the cost. The cost is
high. There's nothing they can't do with an
SGML-aware editor they can't do with vi except
make it hard for LDP to do other things it wants
to do. Specifically, by including "inventive"
constructions, they obfuscate or make it more
difficult to do search engines.
> You talk a good game about letting the computer do the heavy lifting,
> and yet you won't look around and see the rich assortment of tools that
> those damned rugged individualists have been using for years.  Are you
> ignoring the fact that empty tags can be filled by sgmlnorm?  sgmlnorm
> is discussed in DocBook: The Definitive Guide (we have all read
> DocBook:TDG haven't we?).
DocBook is complicated enough without bringing yet
another source into the discussion. DocBook is
intended to facilitate the writing of books and
other literature, and quoting the Definitive Guide
completely ignores the fact the LDP uses a subset.
What's needed is not quotations from a bible, but
hard facts about what LDP wants to see. For
example, you're using "article" not "book", you
don't use "chapter," Mark has just deprecated
"Graphic," and there are sundry other tags either
not being used or being used strangely.

> TRUE THING #1: There is no move afoot to go to a non-standard DocBook.
> You've simply made up a scenario based on one person's intention to try
> out minimized SGML.
> > 6) there may or may not be a template, it may or
> > may not be referenced in the H-H, and it may be in
> > DocBook, LinuxDoc, or both.
> There are templates for both and you know it, Gary.

Yes, I know it, and there should only be a
template for DocBook. What use is a template for a
howto already written in LinuxDoc? Templates are
good only for new docs, and we're deprecating new
LinuxDoc docs, aren't we?

> > 7) LDP may have a policy, but no one seems to know
> > what it is beyond using SGML with some
> > indeterminate DTD. Despite blizzards of blather
> > about the wonderfulness of SGML, about the only
> > thing going is conversion into a few other
> > formats.
> Don't like it?  Fix it.  Blizzards of blather spent complaining about
> things does nothing.  Do you have a script to perform an intelligent,
> context sensitive, search of an SGML archive?  Let's talk about it.  I'm
> sure us folks here would be happy to try it out and help track down the
> bugs.  Oh, what's that?  You haven't written such a script?  Hmmmm...
> Somebody else is working on it...I don't hear them bitching and moaning
> about the job you're doing on whatever it is you're doing.  (And what is
> it you're doing to help the LDP, Gary?)

I could easily write an awk script for finding
objects in DocBook SGML, but to what purpose? LDP
has a de facto database of documents in SGML. Each
record is a single SGML document with an unknown
number of fields. Each field is delineated with
tags, and some fields contain other fields.
Searching is a classic database problem in
locating records with some sort of match to a
field or set of fields. There are several problems
related to searching and to displaying the
results. The views are the documentation formats
you can produce from SGML. The display problem
arises from the conversion software that converts
SGML to a view format. There are limited or no
ways to tell the viewers (Adobe Acrobat viewer,
for example) to go to a location in the SGML code
and begin viewing at that point. The searching
problem is that there are no required fields in
the documents (such as keywords), so a record
can't be reliably located based on field
definitions. Of course, you can do full text
search, but you could do that on any text format.

You suggest fixing it. Ok, here's the fix: 1)
Don't accept anything but DocBook SGML, with no
minimization. 2) Define a set of required tags
that will be used for search. 3) Put together an
on-line thesaurus of keywords. 4) The question of
referring to other howtos is intimately connected
with the search and display problems. 5) Define
(E.g. select from the DocBook DTD and publish)
indexing tags to allow for "go to" display of
cross-referenced or searched documents. At the
moment, HTML looks like the only format amenable
to this function. 6} Identify a set of tools that
will produce SGML to the requirements stated
above. We'll need a scanner that parses incoming
SGML and annotates it for rugged individualists so
their submissions can be corrected to meet
requirements. There isn't any reason this can't be
made available to anyone who wants it, and there's
no reason it can't be something as simple and
understandable as an awk script.

> > 8) It's not clear which validation and conversion
> > tools work with what.
> Granted.  Have you got a solution?  Let's talk about it.

It's above. Read in good health. Making it
available through the LDP CVS server would make

> > Beyond that, everything is clear-cut. Welcome to
> > LDP.
> ...And don't feed to trolls.  Doh!  I guess I already did that.

Feed a troll and you either end up as part of the
meal, or you get more than you expected.

> > Hope this helps.
> Do you?

Yep. Whether it helps or not depends on you. Help
can be offered, but whether or not it's used is up
to the trollee.

> Sorry, Gary, to be so critical...but I'm getting the distinct impression
> that complaining is your primary function around here.  What was it you
> were working on again?

I don't bitch without offering constructive
solutions. Whether you consider them or not is up
to you. For the record, some people seem more
concerned with the smoothness of their feathers
than what I have to say.


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