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Re: End of Documentation Discussion

Richard Kaszeta <kaszeta@me.umn.edu> writes:

> A good format, but the problem here is that the LinuxDoc/SGML source
> isn't very useful by itself, it has to be converted to another source
> to be useful.

I don't see a big problem with that because, as I said, the conversion
programs are small and fast.

> Basic fact of the matter is that we don't have a perfect solution, all
> of them have problems.  But I'd say of the available options HTML at
> least provides:
> 1. A wide variety of browsers (although as discussed many times, none
> with quite the desired feature base).

We really have only one of quality (Netscape), and it is non-free.
Lynx is OK for terminals, but its interface is not as good as it could

> 2. A wide variety of possible formats that can result in HTML.

> On the issue of the difficulty of doing good searches on html... Since
> we plan on distributing as much documentation as possible in html
> format, can't we simply configure 'glimpse' to provide much of this
> missing functionality?

But the problem here is that glimpse requires a lengthy process of
creating an index, space for an index, etc.  This index must also be
updated (either via cron or whenever a package is installed or
removed).  This is not acceptable in many situations.  I currently
have two older machines (a 386 and a 486/33) running Debian.  One of
the best things about it is that it requires little space and few
resources.  Glimpse would change that.  It would suck up several
megabytes at least.  It would require lengthy update processes, etc.

And, there are much more serious problems with HTML.  The most serious
is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to produce
coherent printed output from documentation done in HTML.  This is, in
large part, due to the fact that HTML documentation tends to be split
up into many small files.  There also can be no real index for the
printed copy.

While HTML is good for online viewing with certain conditions, it is
not suited to a general documentation format.

John Goerzen          | Running Debian GNU/Linux (www.debian.org)
Custom Programming    | 
jgoerzen@complete.org | 

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