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Re: Docbase in policy

Gustavo Noronha Silva wrote:

Hello friends,

I found doc-base to be a *very* usefull tool(?), I use dhelp and
doc-central a lot now and registered the docs on my packages on it.

I agree!  Isn't it great?

I've tried to request that we make more widespread use of this excellent doc-base feature, by:

   * Filing wishlist bugs against Netscape and gmc requesting
     Recommends: dhelp and bookmarks or desktop links into
     /usr/share/doc/HTML/index.html [all refused].
   * Filing a similar wishlist bug against gnome-help-data, which
     resulted in a link named "debian" to that file in the GNOME
     Documentation section.

I read in the TODO file for doc-base that work was being done on
including doc-base into the policy (or a separated policy, it seems)
how's the work going?

The short answer is "I've no idea", but since Woody policy seems to have been frozen, I don't believe that is happening with the Woody release...

I do have one little beef with doc-base: it seems that none of the front ends make use of the PostScript or other non-HTML documentation formats...

Moving on, one longer-term issue is that, as with so many other things, the rest of the world is slowly catching up to Debian, so there are new cross-distribution alternatives. IMHO, it's good to support such cross-distro systems in some way, both to leverage new technogoly and as some kind of a good neighbor. One of these is Scrollkeeper, which manages OMF-specified documentation metadata for packages much like dhelp/dwww etc.

What to do about this?  Some suggestions:

   * Ignore it because ours is better (large existing base of support,
   * Switch to it completely because the new stuff is better, e.g. nice
     multilingual capability IIRC, and is cross-distro so our
     meta-tagging can be used by non-Debian users (I recall hearing
     there are still a few such people around :-).
   * Create some two-way compatibility, so we can both incorporate
     doc-base metadata into the Scrollkeeper framework such that apps
     which browse the Scrollkeeper archive can access this body of work
     which Debian devs have put together, and also incorporate
     Scrollkeeper/OMF metadata into doc-base frontends so we can have
     the opposite work.
   * Write some tools to convert package.doc-base files into some
     OMF-compatible format, or vice-versa.

My own investigations into such things have dead-ended at the vacant Scrollkeeper documentation skeleton (why do people do that??). Perhaps others can more intelligently discuss the options based on more extensive knowledge of this and other alternatives; this post is mostly to provoke thought/discussion. :-)


-Adam P.

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