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Re: [Groff] The future redux

From: Walter Alejandro Iglesias
Subject: Re: [Groff] The future redux
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 21:38:02 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.22 (2013-10-16)

On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 01:24:15PM -0500, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Walter Alejandro Iglesias <address@hidden>:
>> Assuming you have not enough time to do it yourself, what I would do
>> in your place is to pay someone to write the html of your site and
>> replace DocBook with PHP scripting.
> There are about fourteen million reasons that would be a terrible idea.
> I'm not going to argue them here; this discussion is about how to fix groff,
> not my website.

I mentioned your site because "A good workman doesn't blame the tools".  Don't
take if for bad but from my honest point of view Groff doesn't need to be
fixed; a lot of things in your website does.  I visited your site in several
occasions.  (Just to compensate, I love fetchmail :-)).

>> Other point.  Why the need to convert to html?  Why not to use pdf
>> online?  Today you can read pdf comfortably from internet.  Web bots
>> (like google) read them.  No lose.
> No, no, *no*.  PDF on the Web is evil and must die.
> Here's why.  It breaks the flatness of URL-space.  HTML documents can point
> at PDFs, but not *into* PDFs.  Conversely, the ability of URLs to point out
> of PDFs is damaged in two ways: (1) by inadequate PDF-reading software that
> doesn't integrate properly with your browser, (2) by the lack of a 
> standardized
> construct in PDFs for masking URLs behind informative link text.

Well PDF is what PDF is.  Do you want more features for PDF too?  That's the
reason I've ranted here and in some other mailing lists and forums, I am sick
exactly of that, the today's anti Unix "adding features" illness.  That's the
human today illness, more and more and more.  You end up with a watch that
tells you Japan's climate, your blood pressure, your location with a GPS, but
it isn't able to tell you what time is it.

> Another drop-dead problem is that PDF wants its presentation container to
> be rigid and breaks reflow when the browser size changes.

I use max-width in CSS on my site because more than 70 columns are not
comfortable to read.  The reflow feature is relatively useful.  Most web sites
today use a static width.  And worse, some idiots use static width of 200

> Also, PDF on mobile devices is still pretty screwed up.  That could be fixed
> relatively easily, though.  The above problems are more difficult.

That's the evil!  Mobile devices.  Unfortunately I have not the power to
exterminate them :).  All that I like of Unix is being screwed because that
stupid fashion (i.e. systemd).  Do you use your phone to read a book?  Well
you're not using the right tool (ls is for list, cp is for copy).  The monitor
of your desktop neither, friends of mine have asked me always a printed copy of
my novels because reading from the computer burns their eyes.  The device that
is nice to read books are electronic books, my wife has one.  There you can
read comfortably a PDF.

Look.  This is the output of a latex to xhtml converter I've wrote years ago:

Take a look to the html source.  Note that if you resize your browser window to
a smartphone size you will see that the text gets adapted but it doesn't grow
more than ~70 columns in full screen (the effect of CSS max-width).  The

(I will delete them later)

I shared that bash script in my site for years till I discussed with a debian
TeXLive mantainer/developer because the same subject, the more is better
illness.  Don't you see anything wrong in the size of TeXLive?

I could have written my script for Groff input.  The point is I combined the
tools I have in my machine, like I've learn to do with Unix, and the result is
good.  Like I said in other post here my script isn't useful for everybody in
all scenarios, just do one thing and do it right.

You should know better than me what I mean (human brain has a little defect,
what is near during a long time becomes invisible).

In resume.  If tomorrow someone makes a clone form some Steve Jobs cell, and
that Jobs android decides to sell a rectal device for browsing internet.  Will
you want to fix Groff again?

> --
>               <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>


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