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Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2014 14:36:43 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Christopher Allan Webber <address@hidden>:
> I think changing things for emacs to make it more modern is good... when
> it came to changing to a new DVCS, I agree with the move to git Git; in
> terms of usage, this is the clear winner.  But who is using asciidoc
> these days?

The Linux kernel, for one.  All their internal documentation and their webbed 
documentation is mastered in asciidoc. Also true of the git project.

> But a lot of this is cosmetic.  We could improve Texinfo to look much
> better probably (and that would positively affect a lot of existing GNU
> projects).

But it would still be Texinfo, still be an essentially pointless
barrier to learning how to contribute.  Stefan has recently observed
that the distinction between info node and document section structure
is almost always pointless duplication, and he's right.  This is one
of many reasons Texinfo needs to be razed to the ground.
> But I really do not understand the choice of asciidoc.  Could you
> explain further your reasoning?

I think (and I believe RMS agrees) that we need a master format that will
(a) play nice with Web, and (b) attract new contributors rather than
repelling them.

The latter criterion argues strongly for a modern, leightweignt markup
in general use outside the Emacs project.  org mode may be functionally
capable enough - I don't know yet - but I think it's the wrong kind 
of positioning; it says "We're Emacs, we're going to stick to our
weird ingrown rituals and not-invented-here hostility, go away".

What are the alternatives, really?  asciidoc.  rST. Sphinx.  Some
flavor of markdown.

I think markdown is right out because of the death-of-a-thousand dialects 
problem it has.  Yes, there's an attempt to solve that happening now.
But even supposing it succeeds, markdown isn't really designed for the 
kind of complex structured documents we have in Texinfo.

rST, Sphinx and asciidoc don't have that problem.  Among those, I think
asciidoc wins because it's achieved more desigh wins in high-profile
                <a href="http://www.catb.org/~esr/";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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