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Re: manlint?

From: Eric S. Raymond
Subject: Re: manlint?
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 2020 00:52:52 -0400

Steve Izma <>:
> On Sat, Sep 12, 2020 at 11:53:44AM +0100, Ralph Corderoy wrote:
> > Subject: Re: manlint?
> > 
> > Eric Raymond has been working on a program called doclifter to turn man
> > pages into DocBook.  A daft idea, and one which the slow death of XML
> > and DocBook should ensure never gains traction.  :-)
> Hi Ralph,
> I don't know which part of your statement you're joking about --
> I assume the reference to Docbook, which might indeed capsize
> like an overweight freighter, but XML is such a simple and robust
> form of structuring documents that it's going to outlast us all.
> And on account of that anything coded in Docbook is salvageable
> by all future generations of archeologists, although I'm glad I
> won't be around to help them out.
> I'm definitely going to continue to use simple XML to store
> anything I want the future to see.
>       -- Steve

In case it matters, doclifter works pretty well now.  Lifts over
90% of man pages to clean structural DocBook.

Even if XML-DocBook doesn't flourish as a transport format in the
future, one benefit of the lift is that you can style much
higher-quality HTML by going man -> XML -> HTML than you can with
any of the direct man to HTML converters out there.

The reason for this is exactly that XML captures semantics in a
way that a naive presentation-level format like man markup can't.

"But where do you get the semantic information if it wasn't in the
man markup to begin with?", I hear you cry.

Two words: cliche analysis.  You can infer semantics from
presentation-level markup cliches. Pile up enough cliche recognition
and you'll start to get "How the hell did it figure *that* out?"
effects.  Doclifter does this a lot.  Sometimes it surprises even me.
                <a href="";>Eric S. Raymond</a>

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