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Subject: Re: DOCBOOK: RFE: Date Format

On 11 Jan 2001 18:48:36 +1030, David Lloyd wrote:
> > I'm aware that they do exist, and that
> > <date>1/2/2001</date> is ambiguous, but I'm not convinced that this is
> > a real, practical problem for DocBook users.
> Unfortunately the LDP don't have online searchable archives. I can,

Since when are they not searchable?  http://www.LinuxDoc.org/search.html
has options for what to search, and one of those is the mailing list

> assure you, that attempting to get a consensus on what the date format
> is - even if you suggest ISO - has, and probably will continue to,
> produced what can only be described as cultural trench warfare. The last
> time it appeared was before the adoption of the new Authoring Guide
> (previously known as the Howto Howto)...

This is, at least in some small part, because the LDP mailing lists are
full of "flamers".  Some long-time veterans just try to avoid those
"flame-easy" topics, for the sake of getting any work done.

> > In what context is this date format ambiguity causing problems?
> As I've said above, if you stick with descriptive names and at least
> name the month rather than number it, there doesn't appear to be too
> many problems. However, the moment you say 1/4/2000 you can run into
> trouble. Unfortunately documentation writers are not going to be able to
> force people to use ISO _and_ make it blindingly simple to accept
> documents (fancy something like your book, TDG - The Definitive Guide
> being rejected because you'd used American style dates or Americanised
> spelling and so forth)...

There is also some small issue with translations here, although I'm at a
loss to articulate it.  I'm not convinced yet that this is a good
addition to DocBook, but I'm still listening.  For the LDP, this issue
could be solved by getting non-profit status, and asking authors to give
the copyrights to the LDP.  This would allow the LDP to make "editorial
changes", like putting the dates into a sane format.  


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