Replacing Docbook

John Ralls jralls at
Fri Aug 28 04:45:44 EDT 2015

> On Aug 28, 2015, at 9:03 AM, Geert Janssens <geert.gnucash at> wrote:
> Thanks for the heads up. That's certainly an interesting opportunity to check out. On the other hand I wonder if markdown has enough structure enforcement (for example to ensure contributors will really use header markup instead of bold/underline where needed). I do agree that docbook xml is a big hurdle for newcomers and even not really appealing to more experienced people. So if we can find a good middleground I'd be all for it.
> Here's another option I have been pondering for a while, and just now took the time to do some minimal research on:
> <>
> Move away from docbook completely and instead save our documents in flat odt. Advantages:
> - This is a format that's easy to store and manage in git.
> - There is a free wysiwyg editor that's universally available: libreoffice. Most people learn how to use it relatively quickly as most of them have used word processors before.
> - libreoffice can export to pdf. I even installed a plugin once to convert odt to epub, which worked reasonably well.
> - libreoffice can also be used headless for document conversion so it can be integrated in automated build processes.
> - in theory libreoffice can even export to html (though I have no idea of the quality).

I’ve used libre/openoffice to create html. It works reasonably well. Calibre’s docs say it can ingest ODT, which will take care of the ebook and mobi outputs. <> looks like the least-obsolete way to convert from DocBook to ODT. Its SVN repo was last updated in 2009 but our DocBook version is pretty old too so it will probably work OK.

Any disadvantages?

John Ralls

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