New member with (possibly OT) suggestion

Eddie Olsson eddie at
Wed Sep 18 14:46:02 PDT 2002

I just joined this list and thought I'd introduce myself briefly, and then get around to my suggestion.
My name is Eddie Olsson, I live in the UK (London) and work as a Programmer for CNET (ZDNet UK). I'm just about to start on my fourth major installation of lfs and I'm considering using ALFS, not so much for the convenience as for the repeatability of a scripted install.

That is what has led me to my suggestion:
One of the problem, as I can see it, with ALFS is that it's probably a lot of work keeping the profiles in sync with the development of the book. Wouldn't there be a lot to gain by merging the two processes? That way, you would always get an ALFS profile as part of the process of creating the book. 
This is how I've imagined it:
The core format for the book is, docbook sgml. A natural choice, but a choice that limits the book to human readable formats only (or almost).
ALFS, on the other hand, uses xml which is, again, a good choice, but the current DTD is entirely targetted at creating executable build scripts.

What if the book used a version of the ALFS xml format that had been extended to encompass all the elements needed for the book. We could then use that xml to generate ALFS profiles directly from the book, or build ALFS clients that would ignore, or make use of, the written instructions and explanations. To generate the currently used formats of the book, one would just transform it into html, pdf/ps latex, whatever, using XSLT or a parser. We could even generate docbook SGML from it.
You could have ALFS clients that would let you read the book, while doing the actual installs automatically or supervised, et cetera.

I'm sorry if this is OT as it borders between ALFS and lfs-dev, but I'd really like to see what you think of the idea and what can be done of it.


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