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Re: Requiring use of DocBook; LinuxDoc

On Sun, Jun 25, 2000 at 02:33:14AM +1000, Chuck Dale wrote:
> [coming in a little late on this thread]
> DocBook provides expressive facilities that LinuxDoc doesn't. 

I agree.

> These are facilities that should be used in any serious LDP document
> and as such new authors will need them anyway. 

Well, up to now many LDP docs were "serious" but didn't seem to need
DocBook.  If you try to use LDP documentation you soon find out the
the main problems are that many are out-of-date, not clearly written,
etc.  The fact that they were not written in DocBook seems to makes
little difference.

> I'm not talking extremely difficult concepts here, I'm talking XRefs
> and LiteralLayouts and Tables and MediaObjects.
> LinuxDoc is a dead end both with respect to the LDP and generally.

Only if we stupidly make it so.  LinuxDoc is much easier (and less
powerful) than DocBook, especially if you need to type in the tags
manually.  Thus it's best for people that are not going to be doing a
lot of technical writing and want to get their document done quickly.
It's actually easier than plain text if you need a table of contents.

For the LDP to refuse to accept LinuxDoc format is nonsensical since
if one submits a LinuxDoc format to LDP it now automatically gets
converted to DocBook format.  But it is possible for people to use
such a conversion program themselves, write in LinuxDoc, convert to
DocBook, and submit it.  But why should the LDP be mean and make
people go to all that extra trouble?  Would we reject a DocBook
document if we knew that it had been written in LinuxDoc and then

LinuxDoc (or something similar to it) needs to be renamed something
else like say EasyDoc so as to signify it has more uses than just Linux.
I think that it could find widespread use in small businesses, for
homeowners, etc.  Writing professionals would use DocBook but many
more amateurs would use LinuxDoc (or the like).  Someone needs to
promote and publicize this possibility.  I used LinuxDoc for
documentation of a building used by an organization I belongs to.  It
describes the plumbing, electric wiring, etc.  It was much easier than
plain text. 

> DocBook is very easy to learn. (It made sense immediately to me mainly
> because it looks so similar to HTML. The installed base of HTML
> Knowledge is rather high.)

LinuxDoc is even easier.  It can be easily learned by people who don't
have the time to learn HTML or DocBook.  LinuxDoc has both its strong
and weak points.  For some it's a good metalanguage to learn (I only
learned several tags and wrote my HOWTO).  For others that have more
time, DocBook is best (especially if one has an editor that supports

BTW, I thought that some people unfairly picked on Gary Preckshot.  He
merely pointed out the obvious falsity of a statement about markup
languages: "none of them are any more difficult than any other".  Some
people seemed to erroneously think that he had wrote things he never
did such as that DocBook is not worthwhile.  

			David Lawyer

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