formatting tools for Docbook

Bob Johnson fbsdlists at
Fri Jun 16 06:43:26 UTC 2006

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

- Bob

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