[Pipet Devel] LaTeX v. Docbook

Brad Chapman chapmanb at arches.uga.edu
Wed May 10 08:33:49 EDT 2000

Jeff wrote:
>> > Gary and David were starting (very preliminary) to document Loci 
>> > DocBook.  Can someone explain why DocBook might or might not be
>> better than
>> > LyX/LaTeX?

Gary wrote:
> Can someone tell me why LaTeX is better than
> DocBook?

I don't think we can really make a good comparison between LaTeX and 
DocBook. They can be processed to produce nice output in lots of 
different formats, and they both can be used to get quality 
technical documentation. 
    I think the most important question is, as I said before, that 
people use what they feel most confortable with. 90% of the time a 
particular piece of documentation will be written primarily by one 
person, and I just don't think it makes sense for it to take 3 times 
as long to do the documentation because you have to struggle through 
learning DocBook markup or LaTeX macros. On the other extreme I don't 
think it would be fair for someone to write documentation in some 
random format and then hand it to Gary and expect him to have 100,000 
converters to process stuff around and spend hours hand editing 
    So what I'm trying to say is that I think it will be very 
difficult to meet the lofty goal of having everyone do documentation 
in one format. Instead could we settle on the less lofty goal of 
everyone using whatever they please, but then being responsible for 
converting it to a format that Gary will like and can use without too 
much trouble (hopefully this format won't be DocBook, tho :-). If two 
or more people are working on a specific piece of documentation that 
has to work on all their systems, then they can hash out a format for 
it. This puts the responsibility of conversion in the hands of 
individual people and lets us avoid having an officially mandated 
    How does this plan sound? Down with a totalitarian documentation 
scheme! Long live individual responsibility!


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