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Re: Brokenness of DocBook XSL toolchain

[changing cc to -sgml]

On Tue, Mar 11, 2003 at 02:46:07PM -0500, Norman Walsh wrote:
> / Aaron Isotton <aaron@isotton.com> was heard to say:
> | The transformations work as follows:
> |
> | - XML -> FO using
> | /usr/share/sgml/docbook/stylesheet/xsl/nwalsh/fo/docbook.xsl.  This part
> | works fine, BUT it doesn't respect /etc/papersize.  xmlto has a hack in
> | it to do that, but other problems (follow).
> There's no obvious way to make the base stylesheets respect
> /etc/papersize. The papersize can be passed as a parameter, and that
> parameter can come from /etc/papersize, but the stylesheet itself
> can't look there. (XSL stylesheets can't load non-XML documents.)

which had me thinking that libpaper-utils could create an xml document
in addition to /etc/papersize, and the stylesheet could read that, but
then you forget about environment variables. i think the solution xmlto
uses (generate an xml stylesheet that imports docbook xsl on the fly)
works decently.

> | - FO -> DVI using xmltex.  One might think that this should work the
> | same as FO -> PDF, but this is not the case.  It works with toy "sample"
> | documents, but not with longer and more complex ones.
> Using TeX to read FO and produce PDF is an interesting exercise,

it seems that god did not intend tex and fo to marry happily.

> but I don't think it's being actively developed.

passivetex is being updated upstream.

> As far as free FO formatters go, I'm holding my breath for
> https://sourceforge.net/projects/xmlroff/ (Fair disclosure: I work for
> Sun. But I'd still support Tony even if I didn't.)

though is it really free? pangopdf, used by xmlroff, uses pdflib, which
is apparently non-free (see #182445).

i admit though, it looks promising.

> | I'd very much appreciate if somebody with more knowledge of xslt and tex
> | than I have could look into the problem; I also think that it would be
> | much better if the maintainers of the relevant packages would check the
> | toolchain with some "real" documents (as available from
> | http://cvs.debian.org/*checkout*/?cvsroot=debian-doc) instead of some
> | upstream-supplied sample documents.
> And therein lies part of the problem. While I accept responsibility
> for the stylesheets and I'll do my part to make them work better for
> Debian, I can't test the whole toolchain.
> I wouldn't be surprised if all of the maintainers are in a similar
> position.

being the maintainer of xmlto, which is a tool that drives the entire
toolchain, im in an ok place to do testing (which i try to do).


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