[rfc-i] Following up from Atlanta

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Wed Dec 5 00:00:50 PST 2012


On 04/12/2012 23:21, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
> On 12/4/12 2:23 PM, Nico Williams wrote:
>> On Tue, Dec 4, 2012 at 4:02 PM, Ted Lemon <mellon at fugue.com> wrote:
>>> The real question is whether we want the canonical representation to be a particular presentation (of which lpr-style plain text and book-style proportional typeset text are two examples), or whether we want it to be a machine-translatable representation that can be presented in both of those ways, as well as other ways (e.g., hypertext).
>>>
>>> If the answer is that we prefer a machine readable representation, then the question of which presentation to use falls away, and we can get into the much livelier and more religious discussion of whether nroff or xml2rpc should be the canonical representation.   As you have no doubt gathered, I prefer that the canonical representation be explicitly machine-readable, and that there be a few canonical presentation forms that are made available as well, one of which would be the old standby.
>> I've *been* saying that I don't care so much what the canonical
>> representation is as that there be a text representation for us
>> tty-lovers.  I'd rather that the text representation be natively
>> supported rather than being generated by applying a text-based browser
>> to an HTML rendering.
> 
> Third requirement in section 3.1 of draft-rfc-format-flanagan-02 states:
> 
>       *  While several Publication formats must be allowed, the
>          Publication formats must include support for plain-text
>          printing.
> 
> Does this meet the need of tty-lovers?

If we ignore eccentric personal preferences, IMHO it slightly misses
the point. Yes, there are circumstances in which plain text printing
without choice of font becomes necessary, but these days it's a corner
case. Also, does this requirement imply "without loss of information"?

What is really important is that graphics and some aspects of
formatting (such as list layouts) survive the processes of storage,
transmission, presentation and printing. Historically, a fixed-width
ASCII-only format has been the way we guaranteed that. The real question
is whether this has changed.

     Brian


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