22 Feb 2001 nik   » (Master)

Number of messages flagged as "must respond to" in freebsd-doc: 666

Spending the day (and most of yesterday) tucked up recovering from a nasty stomach bug I think I picked up in Barcelona. Everything is fine until I eat something, at which point it all gets a bit hairy. Still, I could stand to lose a few pounds. And it gives me the opportunity to catch up one some e-mail.

Spent part of last week at the NordU2001 conference. BSDi were a sponsor, which meant that we got to do a presentation. Figuring that most people wouldn't want to sit through a standard vendor presentation, I gave an introduction to DocBook, where it fits among the sea of documentation formats already available, and what its benefits are compared to those formats. It seemed to go down well, and I'm exchanging e-mail with some of the people who attended to help them up the learning curve.

The documentation infrastructure on FreeBSD has taken another leap forward -- inline images are now supported, without requiring the end user to pull down all of ImageMagick (and its dependencies). The author can write something like this

    <mediaobject>
      <imageobject>
        <imagedata fileref="figure1" format="EPS">
      </imageobject>

<textobject> <literallayout class="monospaced">+-----+ | A | +------+</literallayout> </textobject>

<textobject> <para>A box with an 'A' in it</para> </textobject> </mediaobject>

and the Makefile's and stylesheets automatically handle converting the image from its source format (EPS or PNG) to the correct format for the output (EPS, PNG, or PDF), scaling the image correctly as necessary, and so on. It's also possible to build plain text versions of the documentation, without any images -- in this case, the first textobject, with the ASCII art, will be used. This is pretty useful.

With this done I could bring in something else that's been sat in my tree for a while. Addison Wesley have very kindly allowed us to excerpt chapter 2 of the book "The Design and Implementation of the 4.4BSD Operating System" for the FreeBSD Documentation Project. This contains a couple of images, and it's been the image support that's been holding it back.

Spent some time reordering http://www.freebsd.org/docs.html, which I'll commit later. Hopefully it makes the information clearer.

Going back and forth with Adam di Carlo in the docbook-apps mailing list. Looks like we might have the beginnings of commonality between the FreeBSD doc. infrastructure and that of (some) Linux (distributions). Which is good.

dyork: Any chance you'll publicise your DSSSL stylesheets?

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