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

From: Ludovic Courtès
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:53:20 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.4 (gnu/linux)

address@hidden (Phillip Lord) skribis:

> Ludovic Courtès <address@hidden> writes:
>> GNU has a culture of high-quality documentation.  Texinfo is a tool for
>> that, providing features like indexes, cross-manual references,
>> documentation-oriented markup, and several output media.  AFAIK, neither
>> AsciiDoc nor “heavier” options like DocBook support all of that.
> Asiidoc does do indexes, as does docbook. And, yes, multiple output
> formats. Seriously, almost everything does multiple output formats.

OK.  What about documentation-oriented markup (think @deffn, @deftp) and
cross-manual references?  They don’t do that, do they?

>> Info browsers make it easy to browse manuals, search for index terms,
>> follow links, including to other manuals.  A Web browser cannot achieve
>> that because a Web browser is not designed for that.
> Web pages and browsers can do anything at all. Here is a webpage which boots
> so linux and runs some of GNU

I’ve heard of JavaScript, thank you ;-), but I’d rather (1) run code
that’s hosted locally, and (2) be able to use a JS-less browser if I
have to use a browser at all (I think it’s fair to assume that some
Emacs users would rather use emacs-w3m or eww.)

>> "Eric S. Raymond" <address@hidden> skribis:
>>> I have discussed this with RMS and, pending my ability to actually write
>>> proper translation tools, we have agreed on asciidoc as a new master 
>>> format.
>> That’s a discussion that would need to involve all of GNU, not just
>> Emacs circles.  I don’t see how that change could happen.
> Not really. Someone has to try it first.

The problem is that GNU manuals refer to each other, and Texinfo nodes
are part of their public interface, in a way.

Leaving out cross-manual refs would be a big loss for GNU as a project
to develop a coherent system, because manuals would be left isolated.

To me, if replacing Texinfo and/or Info results in loss of functionality
at all, that’s a showstopper.  I’m surprised alternative systems are not
studied with that in mind.


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