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Re: [Groff] Mission statement

From: Ingo Schwarze
Subject: Re: [Groff] Mission statement
Date: Sat, 15 Mar 2014 13:42:27 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Hi Eric and Peter,

Eric S. Raymond wrote on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 11:26:46PM -0400:

>> Manpages
> I think we can be a little more specific here:

that's exactly what i meant, it certainly feels like this could be
more specific, but once you do word it more specifically, the result
no longer reflects a consensus, but requires a decision, deciding
to use one approach and abandoning another.

> - Increased use of browsers

That's overstated.  It is not just use of browsers that makes
semantic markup desirable, it's also useful in its own right, for
example to support semantic searching.

>   shifts the commonest use cases

I contest that.  The commonest use case for man pages is, and
remains, man(1) -Tascii or -Tutf8 terminal output.

>   for man pages in a direction that rewards structural rather than
>   presentational markup.  
>   The future direction for the man macros

Here, as is well known by now, we strongly disagree.  That may be
a future direction for manual markup (though even that is imprecise,
in BSD, this has already been archieved nearly twenty-five years
ago), but not with the man(7) macros.  There is no consensus whether
or not the man(7) macros should have any future at all.

If i were to make it more specific, i would say something like:

> Peter Schaffter wrote:
>> - 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

 - improve the semantic usefulness of manpage markup by encouraging
   and actively supporting the transition from man(7) to mdoc(7),
   and carefully evolve and improve mdoc(7), while at the same
   time continuing full support for the traditional man(7) macros,
   completely unchanged, to support historic and autogenerated

Probably, you wouldn't be happy with that variant.

I don't buy your claim that mdoc(7) is complicated, i consider that
a myth.  But i do claim that DocBook is bloated and complicated
and hence a direction to be avoided.


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