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Subject: An apology and some minor revelations

Hi - 

First, I would like to apologize to the list for the tone of my earlier 
posting. It is true that you shouldn't drive or write when frustrated and 
angry, and by sending off that mail before I gave myself a chance to cool 
down, I was rude and obviously caused offense. It was, to put it mildly, 
uncalled for and counterproductive at best for all involved, and I deeply 
regret having sent that post. 

I'm grateful for those who did still take the time to answer. As Tobias quite 
rightly pointed out, I was "thoroughly confused" on quite a few issues. 
After reading the postings here, rereading parts of the documentation, and 
contemplating the fluff in my navel for a while, I think I know where my 
worst problems are: 

First, I have been thinking of DocBook too much in terms of a LaTeX-like 
system, where there is an actual program (well, link) with the same name 
that (for the casual user) did all the magic to get from the source file to 
the finished DVI. The idea that DocBook is "only" a language, not a system, 
and that the "other stuff" are add-ons that must be considered independently 
still seems a very, very strange way to do things, but does come sort as a 

Second, I hadn't quite realized that DocBook XML is a form of XML and not a 
"übermarkup-language" that just happens to be realized in XML or SGML or 
something else without having to change the text itself. This does come as 
sort of a disappointment, but that serves me right for hoping for a magic 
bullet. I still don't have to like those XML-related lines I guess, but now 
at least I know why they are there. 

There are still parts that don't make sense to me -- the <emphasis> tag, for 
example, doesn't seem to fit. I can write a book, a section, a chapter, a 
paragraph, a list, a quote, even a programlisting, but I can't "write" an 
emphasis. This still seems like a formating command if I ever saw one. Also, 
I was surprised to see a "prose paragraph" being treated here as a 
formating, not a structural element: Pick up any novel, or even better, a 
newspaper, and you'll see that these paragraphs are used to group elements 
in certain ways that a "normal" block paragraph won't hold the rhythm. But 
considering the problems I had this morning, this is minor stuff.

I'm glad John came out and actually said (more clearly than I could) what I 
was feeling about the complexity of the tools involved, and I can see his 
logic of using standard tools, even if they seem (to me at least) somewhat 
overkill for the task involved. I'll also take heart in Dave's description 
that the learning curve might be steep, but getting there is worth the 
trouble. That has been the case with almost all tools I've found on the 
Linux systems I've been using since the mid-90's, and so I hope it will be 
so here, to.

I still can't find a docbook.xsl (and I don't seem to have a "locate" command 
on this system). If it is any comfort to Daniel, this is a SuSE 8.2 setup 
I'm having trouble with. It seems that they replaced jade by openjade and 
quite a few loose threads remain; and yes, I've logged an error report.

Again, my apologies to the list for my behavior in the last post, and again 
thanks for helping in spite of it. I'll just sit over here in the corner for 
a while and suck on my thumb until I feel it's safe to unplug my mouth 

Y, Scot

                  Our cat likes to do that, too
               Scot W. Stevenson - Zepernick, Germany

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