formatting tools for Docbook

Chuck Robey chuckr at
Thu Jun 15 22:01:04 UTC 2006

Bob Johnson wrote:

> On 6/15/06, Chuck Robey <chuckr at> wrote:
>> Greg Barniskis wrote:
>> > Chuck Robey wrote:
>> >
>> docs, because then no one else would be able to use my documents.  Am I
>> wrong in considering the FDP generated documentation as being in that
>> category, not terribly uselful outside the FreeBSD project.
> I believe you are wrong, or I misunderstand the question.
> I haven't used XML DocBook, but I've used DocBook with DSSSL.  I
> assume what you are really asking is not whether the FreeBSD
> extensions to the DocBook markup language are a problem (they aren't),
> but whether the stylesheets used by FreeBSD are compatible with those
> on other systems.  They are (or they claim to be, as I said I haven't
> actually used the XML/XSL tools yet).
> To clarify: the real issue for me, and probably what you are really
> referring to, is that the output format is not defined by the DocBook
> markup, but by the stylesheets (or equivalent) in the tool set used to
> produce the output.  That's both the advantage and disadvantage of
> Docbook (and SGML in general).  If you want strict control of the
> output format, then you run into the problem of a standard stylesheet
> format so you can also distribute your stylesheets along with your
> marked up documents.  DSSSL stylesheets are an incredible pain to
> modify, and I sympathize with your desire to avoid them.  XSL
> stylesheets are becoming a widely accepted standard, so that's the way
> to go, and since they are pretty much a standard, the details of what
> tools you use to do your document rendering shouldn't matter.
> If you need to modify the "standard" XSL stylesheets to meet your
> needs, just distribute the modified stylesheets along with your marked
> up documents and that should allow the person at the other end to
> duplicate your output.  The FreeBSD XML DocBook tool set claims to use
> XSL stylesheets, so as I said, the answer to your question should be
> "no, the tools are not FreeBSD specific".
> Is that explanation helping at all, or am I way off track?  And have I
> said anything that is just flat wrong?
> You may also want to look at
> if you haven't
> already.
This sort of response, answering questions I never asked, is exactly 
why, in my original post, I pleaded with folks not to respond if they 
had not, themselves, used the ports to create Docbook (NOT FDP!) 
documents.  I wasn't asking questions relating in any remote fashion to 
the FDP.  It's a fine project, I make no criticism of them at all, but I 
do make a criticism of folks who try to hijack a thread so as to bang 
their own drum.

I want to make Docbook documents, not FDP docs, and the extensions that 
FDP supplies, unless it leaves me 100% (not 98%) compatible with the 
latest Docbook schema (not tracking the FDP schema).  I want to write 
docs for inter-communications  with folks outside of FreeBSD, folks who 
aren't even aware of Unix at all.  Please don't hijack my  thread.  If I 
try to use FDP-created docs, then I will not be able to send them out to 
folks who haven't any idea what FDP is, and I don't want that.  That 
wasn't my question.

Geeze, I feel badly enough about having to jump on someone ... the first 
fella, I replied to him privately, but you, in greatly exopanding the  
range of your hijacking (once the fist fella had snipped off my request 
not to  do just what you did, you were I guess free to do that), I 
haven't any way to stopping you from destroying my thread, outside of 
blantly asking you to Stop It (PLEASE!)....

BTW, I have had replies from others not on this list, and just those 
monitoring it from outside services, asking me to please forward any 
relies I get to them, so it's not just for me, that this info is wanted.

> - Bob

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