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Re: info -> html

From: Patrice Dumas
Subject: Re: info -> html
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2012 17:59:52 +0100
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.20 (2009-12-10)

On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 01:21:28PM +0800, Chong Yidong wrote:
> address@hidden (Karl Berry) writes:
> To summarize for texinfo-devel: the discussion which I had off-list with
> RMS and Karl was whether, given the limitations of the Info format, the
> GNU project should start transitioning out of the Info format into
> another documentation format (preferably one of the other formats
> Makeinfo is capable of outputting).

The next makeinfo version will be much easier to extend than the C
makeinfo, so in my opinion, whether this is already an output format
supported by makeinfo should not weight too much, it would be better to
make sure that it is the right format.

> The question of what format to transition into affects the choice of
> installation layout.  From my understanding, the standard format for
> on-system documentation nowadays is DocBook.  Gnome and KDE, for
> instance, both use DocBook for their documentation.  Since makeinfo can
> generate DocBook output, it seems logical to use that.  

There are some important differences between DocBook and Texinfo, as
DocBook cannot really handle the @def* commands as Texinfo do, @w, 
@inforef, ref to other manuals, @center, and certainly others.  Maybe
not really to worry since TeX output is about the same, teh @node/@menu
structure is not taken into account.  Also there are constraints in 
DocBook that are not present in Texinfo, for example indices must be 
first or last in a section, and certainly other.

Also, the fact that Gnome and KDE use DocBook for their documentation
does not really add some appeal to that solution, as I don't really like
that much how those project tend not to care much about stability, to 
other approaches and to the old style hackers (like me) needs.

> In that case,
> the transition would entail (i) teaching Info and Emacs Info to
> understand DocBook, 

That looks very ambitious to me, at least for the Info reader.  Is there
already somewhere a console DocBook reader?

> and baking in a rule for them to translate from the
> old Info location to the standard location used by DocBook
> documentation; and (ii) telling Autotools to install DocBook in those
> locations, in addition to the Info locations.  As far as I can tell, the
> translation is something like
> PREFIX/share/info/MANUAL.info             (Info manual location)
>   -->
> PREFIX/share/help/LOCALE/MANUAL/NODE.page (DocBook location)

DocBook manuals are not split.  But for the same reason than html
manuals, that is to have a place for accompanying material, such as
image files, it could be a good idea.


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