[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

groff for epub/e-books (was: groff 1.22.4 mandb 2.11.2 man -H tbl not re

From: G. Branden Robinson
Subject: groff for epub/e-books (was: groff 1.22.4 mandb 2.11.2 man -H tbl not rendered)
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2023 20:26:19 -0600

Hi Brian,

At 2023-02-22T11:42:00-0700, Brian Inglis wrote:
> That and what you've changed already is much better than current, as
> it previously read as if global/region options could be specified
> after .T&.

I had tried to avoid implying that, but if it's more clear now, all the
better.  :)

> Any chance you could eventually get the info docs to the same level?

I've wordsmithed a lot of the groff Texinfo manual since 1.22.4, and
written some entirely new sections/nodes, but there is no preprocessor
coverage in it and I don't plan to add any.  I think the preprocessors
can be covered in a man page or short paper, and don't require a
book-length manuscript as the GNU troff formatter does.

There's an open Savannah ticket about this.

> I normally expect more and easier access to the info than the man
> pages for GNU packages, so start there first! ;^>

It's there, if you want to learn the formatter in detail.

> [And prefer "open" ePub, vs *proprietary* Adobe PS and PDF,

PDF is an international standard these days,[1] though I wonder if it
isn't a captive one by Adobe as "Office Open XML" is by Microsoft.[2]

> as it's zipped html readable in browser addons, or vim or less(/open)
> if desperate. Get on it FSF!]

I _do_ think ePub would make a good application for groff, and it's
something I've given some thought to.  One thing EPUBs often need to do
is reflow and re-render the text, because someone make take a tablet or
phone display and rotate it frequently.  EPUBs _can_ do this, but in my
experience, they often do it poorly.

PDF apparently doesn't handle this well, which is one of the reason a
bunch of "e-book" document formats popped up.  I've been frustrated with
every one I've encountered.

I have noticed that groff generally renders so fast on modern hardware
that I'll wager that a "groff ePub" document could ship the document
_source_ and an "ePub reader" for it would provide the entire groff
rendering system.  (For documents that are slow to render even with this
approach, you could straightforwardly cache the intermediate output for
each display orientation.)  I don't see how this would require any
architectural changes to groff itself, and would have many advantages,
particularly for document source accessibility, archivability,
preservation, and "share-alike" licensing properties.

(So major publishers would probably hate it and oppose it with fury.)

So, if some entrepreneur wants to fund me for a year or two to move this
forward, shoot me an email.  ;-)



Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]