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Re: upstreams maintainer conflict, was: wget: remove outdated manual page

Zed Pobre <zed@moebius.interdestination.com> writes:
> Faith in the document's accuracy, and the good will of an upstream
> developer.  I'd like to see further versions of wget as free
> software.

Thanks for the support, Zed.  Note that all future versions of Wget
will be free software no matter what you decide, because I've assigned
my copyright to the FSF.  But even if I hadn't, I would still keep
Wget free, despite everything.

> The official documentation for this program as written by the
> upstream author is part of the Info system (try "info wget" and "man
> info" in place of "man wget").  This document was written by <email>
> for the Debian distribution for users that prefer the manpage
> interface to the info interface.  The upstream author disclaims all
> responsibility for this manpage.

I would like the manpage to say that it was included against my
wishes, *and* that I disclaim responsibility.  This is all assuming we 
are talking about the old "updated" manpage, and not a new version
based on `--help' output.

> Personally, I agree.  Someone made the suggestion of converting the
> info pages into SGML, and then using that to create common info and
> man pages.  That sounds like a pretty good idea to me, though it
> might be quite a bit of work.

The idea is a good one, but it takes some elaboration before it can be
seriously considered.  Here are some problems of conceptual and
technical nature:

1) Info pages are irrelevant.  What should really happen is that Texi
   pages are converted to SGML or whatever;

2) SGML is a broad notion.  The proposers should specify what DTD they 
   have in mind, and what processing utilities are available.

3) This would require much cleverness to work right.  Texinfo manuals
   != man pages.  Info pages contain hypertext (or are printed into
   manuals), which allows them to contain more "irrelevant" data.  For 
   instance, wget.texi contains a copy of the GPL and the norobots
   convention.  Such things would be hopelessly bloated in a manpage,
   whereas they are quite acceptable in Info or printed manuals.

   This SGML system should cleverly distinguish between the
   manpage-forming elements, hypertextual elements and printed-manual
   elements, and construct the correct thing depending on the

4) Existing Texinfo pages use a lot of TeX features, which is
   understandable, as TeX is an excellent typesetter.  Will it be
   possible to convert these to SGML without loss of functionality?

5) Finally, what does this buy us?  Texinfo is not a perfect system,
   but it works reasonably well.  Moving to SGML should be accompanied 
   by a true gain in functionality.

   So far most of the complaints to Info in favor of man were related
   to the lack of a good text-based standalone Info reader (the one
   shipped by the FSF is horrible, and not only for the bindings.)
   Let's not confuse the two very different issues -- if it is the
   reader that is broken, then the reader should be fixed.  I've never
   heard an Emacs users complain on Info.

Hrvoje Niksic <hniksic@srce.hr> | Student at FER Zagreb, Croatia
aibohphobia (ay' bo fo beeya): n. The fear of palindromes.

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