Re: <PAGE> proposal

Eric S. Raymond (
Sat, 23 Dec 1995 11:11:04 -0500 (EST)

> Though the terms used have been different, all I've gathered so far is an
> argument that converting from a pageless model to a paged model somehow
> eases maintenance. But then, what's the *real* problem? If it's a question
> of having a single master source from which to produce target-specific or
> customized versions, some *other* SGML application could be the way to go.
> Roll your own DTD, and either use a revision control system with make, or
> generate output on the fly.
> I question the idea that *HTML* has to be the "one-stop shopping" answer.

Maybe you do, but it's going to evolve in that direction whether you want it
to or not. The economic pressures to unify hypertext composition with paper
composition are just too strong to resist, and Joe Publisher is *not* going
to write DTDs. Instead, he'll shop around until he finds an HTML interpreter
not written by a purist. And the market will supply one and pre-empt us.

I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until everybody gets it. *We do
not have a choice* about whether future HTML will do presentation control
suitable for paper. It *will* happen. The only question is whether we will
anticipate the pressure and develop a clean compromise with paper, or push
the write-your-own-DTD purism, default the job to someone who doesn't care
as much about medium-independence, and end up with ugly kluges.