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HTML in addition to GNU Info? (was: ... instead ...)

On Sat, Jun 19, 1999 at 11:47:18PM -0700, Aaron Van Couwenberghe wrote:
> So IMO Debian should have no standard doc format. If someone started using a
> format that required a proprietary reader, then that's too much, but I think
> we should refrain from overregulation.

OK, that thread has been going on for a while, and one thing I learned:
Never, never even think about taking away something from Debian, there sure
will be someone who likes it.

So now, I will refrain from the idea of taking away the info documentation.
Personally, I do not like the info-reader for documentation, but it sure has
its advantages.

But still, if you read the policy, 6.4 Documentation

| The unification of Debian documentation is being carried out via HTML.

I think that speaks clearly. Now I sure do not want everybody to write raw
HTML for their documentation, but about every documentation source format
supports conversion to HTML (which is not true for GNU Info format) So if we
would try to get as much documentation as possible installed in HTML format,
we would have *one* neat tree where one is about sure to find what he
searches. Ok, you say, dwww/dhelp will integrate the info documentation into
that tree automatically, but simply compare pages converted INFO->HTML with
pages converted TEXI->HTML and you will see a big difference. Also, you will
always have a "tree within a tree" that way and looking for the docu for one
package you'll have to search both. And finally, you will always have to
have a webserver installed to use that feature. For plain HTML docu, you
simply install lynx and can read everything at text console without any
further hassle and resources. (Having everything on Info format would do
this, too, but that will never happen, because you simply don't have all
documentation in formats that can be converted to Info. In HTML that is much
less of a problem.

Now - I do not have a real solution for the whole thing yet. That is
something that would have to be thought through thoroughly. Several ideas:

- include texi files in the packages and let a mechanism create the files
the sysad wants on the system.

- include both INFO and HTML documentation in each package

- include HTML in the package itself and make a separate package for the
INFO file.

- put both in separate documentation packages

Each of these methods has some heavy drawbacks, but perhaps there is a way
in between that I don't see. Personally I'm much in favor for the first
solution, especially since it doesn't increase the package size at all
and is most flexible. Once installed, the size of the additional files
should be too much of a problem. I would guess an average texi file at about
50 K and anything much above should be in a separate package anyway.


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