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Re: [Groff] Mission statement

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2014 23:26:46 -0400
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Peter Schaffter <address@hidden>:
> Manpages
> - improve the semantic usefulness of manpage markup; groff currently
>   formats manpages for TTYs and PostScript from largely
>   presentational markup, however increased use of browsers
>   necessitates parsing source files for semantic markup in order to
>   simplify their conversion to presentationally-indifferent xml

I think we can be a little more specific here:

- Increased use of browsers shifts the commonest use cases for man pages
  in a direction that rewards structural rather than presentational markup.  
  The future direction for the man macros is to (a) decouple them as much 
  as possible from low-level troff requests and (b) semantically enrich the 
  markup, while (c) maintaining backwards compatibility of the macro set.

I think that lays out a good direction (parallel to where mdoc(7) has
gone, but simpler) without committing us to anything grandiose that we
can't deliver on.

> The build system
> - streamline the build system to improve flexibility and portability

Nothing you can ever do with autotools will ever be describable as 
'streamlining'.  It's a horrible, bloated, crufty mess that leads to
horrible, bloated, crufty builds.

If I were running the project I would toss out autotools in a heartbeat
and replace it with something cleaner and more modern.  My top choice
would be scons.
                <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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