version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

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version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Paul Eggert
I noticed Glenn's comment at the start of doc/emacs/emacs.texi that
EDITION (which was "Seventeenth") offers nothing that EMACSVER
("27.0.50") does not. I'd go further and say that it's a net minus,
since it's confusing to have competing version numbers for the same thing.

Although separating software version numbers from book edition numbers
made sense in the old days when most users had only low-resolution
displays and/or printers, nowadays the practice appears to be more
trouble than it's worth. So I installed the attached patch, to switch
the main Emacs manuals to simple version numbers like "27.0". Comments
welcome.

0001-Omit-edition-numbers-and-dates-in-manuals.patch (4K) Download Attachment
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Re: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Jean-Christophe Helary-4


> On Nov 2, 2019, at 9:35, Paul Eggert <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> I noticed Glenn's comment at the start of doc/emacs/emacs.texi that EDITION (which was "Seventeenth") offers nothing that EMACSVER ("27.0.50") does not. I'd go further and say that it's a net minus, since it's confusing to have competing version numbers for the same thing.
>
> Although separating software version numbers from book edition numbers made sense in the old days when most users had only low-resolution displays and/or printers, nowadays the practice appears to be more trouble than it's worth. So I installed the attached patch, to switch the main Emacs manuals to simple version numbers like "27.0". Comments welcome.

This makes a lot of sense.


Jean-Christophe Helary
-----------------------------------------------
http://mac4translators.blogspot.com @brandelune



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Re: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Eli Zaretskii
In reply to this post by Paul Eggert
> From: Paul Eggert <[hidden email]>
> Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2019 17:35:53 -0700
>
> I noticed Glenn's comment at the start of doc/emacs/emacs.texi that
> EDITION (which was "Seventeenth") offers nothing that EMACSVER
> ("27.0.50") does not. I'd go further and say that it's a net minus,
> since it's confusing to have competing version numbers for the same thing.
>
> Although separating software version numbers from book edition numbers
> made sense in the old days when most users had only low-resolution
> displays and/or printers, nowadays the practice appears to be more
> trouble than it's worth. So I installed the attached patch, to switch
> the main Emacs manuals to simple version numbers like "27.0". Comments
> welcome.

I've reverted this.

We cannot unilaterally remove this stuff, we must talk to the FSF
publishing people and have their agreement first, because they will
need to know it is now their responsibility to keep track of the
edition number.  The edition appears on the book's cover: e.g., my
copy of the latest Emacs Manual says "Eighteenth edition for GNU Emacs
version 26.1".

Richard, who we should talk to about changing this?

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Re: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Paul Eggert
On 11/2/19 12:59 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:

> We cannot unilaterally remove this stuff, we must talk to the FSF
> publishing people and have their agreement first

OK, I'll write [hidden email] about this, and CC: you and RMS.

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Re: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Eli Zaretskii
> Cc: [hidden email]
> From: Paul Eggert <[hidden email]>
> Date: Sat, 2 Nov 2019 10:23:28 -0700
>
> On 11/2/19 12:59 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>
> > We cannot unilaterally remove this stuff, we must talk to the FSF
> > publishing people and have their agreement first
>
> OK, I'll write [hidden email] about this, and CC: you and RMS.

Thanks.

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Re: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Richard Stallman
In reply to this post by Eli Zaretskii
[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > Richard, who we should talk to about changing this?

Please talk with [hidden email].  He would know who you need to work
with.

--
Dr Richard Stallman
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://gnu.org, https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)



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Re: Fwd: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Paul Eggert
On 11/10/19 7:26 PM, John Sullivan wrote:
> maybe the solution could be to have two online
> versions, one that corresponds to print and is only updated when a new
> print version is made, and the other is the one that the developers with
> each release or whenever they feel is appropriate? And that latter
> version would not have any edition number. We wouldn't have any problem
> with the primary canonical manual link
> (https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/emacs.html) being used for
> the online-only version. What do you think?

Sounds good. This can be done by Texinfo flags, which are set for the
printed version and generate an edition number, and are clear for the
canonical online/info manual and do not generate an edition number. I
installed the attached patch into the GNU Emacs master to do this. We
can tweak it as needed later.

0001-Conditionally-omit-edition-numbers-dates-in-doc.patch (7K) Download Attachment
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Re: Fwd: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Eli Zaretskii
> From: Paul Eggert <[hidden email]>
> Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 11:32:00 -0800
> Cc: Emacs development discussions <[hidden email]>
>
> On 11/10/19 7:26 PM, John Sullivan wrote:
> > maybe the solution could be to have two online
> > versions, one that corresponds to print and is only updated when a new
> > print version is made, and the other is the one that the developers with
> > each release or whenever they feel is appropriate? And that latter
> > version would not have any edition number. We wouldn't have any problem
> > with the primary canonical manual link
> > (https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/emacs.html) being used for
> > the online-only version. What do you think?

I didn't see John's response, not sure why.  Can someone forward it to
me?

> Sounds good. This can be done by Texinfo flags, which are set for the
> printed version and generate an edition number, and are clear for the
> canonical online/info manual and do not generate an edition number. I
> installed the attached patch into the GNU Emacs master to do this. We
> can tweak it as needed later.

Sigh...  John said "WDYT", which assumed discussion, not an immediate
commit...

In any case, I'm not sure John was suggesting that someone will have
to manually type a texi2any command.  I think at the very least we
should have a separate target in the Makefile, and we should maintain
the last printed edition in some separate file, because no one will
remember that otherwise.  Please note that such a command will have
to be run to generate the on-line manual we have on the Web site.

The fact that some manuals use EDITION while others use VERSION also
doesn't make this very clean, IMO.

I'd also like to hear John's opinion about this solution.

Thanks.

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Re: Fwd: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Paul Eggert
On 11/14/19 4:18 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:

> I didn't see John's response, not sure why.  Can someone forward it to
> me?

Sure, here it is:

> Paul Eggert <[hidden email]> writes:
>
>> On 11/10/19 6:25 PM, John Sullivan wrote:
>>> Can you fill me in more on how they are messed up? Thanks for your help.
>>
>> For example, the FSF bookstore web page
>> <https://shop.fsf.org/books/gnu-emacs-manual-18th-edition-v-261>
>> currently advertises the GNU Emacs 26.1 manual as the "18th edition,
>> v. 26.1" and the spine of the printed manual says "Eighteenth edition
>> for GNU Emacs version 26.1".
>>
>> In contrast, the online manual
>> <https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/emacs.html> says on its
>> title page "Seventeenth Edition, Updated for Emacs Version 26.3". That
>> is, the online manual says it is for an *earlier* manual edition, but
>> for a *later* Emacs version, than the printed manual.
>>
>> The edition number is incorrect and misleading, since the online
>> manual is in fact more up-to-date than the printed manual. So I'd like
>> to remove the edition number from the online manual. That way, the
>> online manual won't have incorrect information, and the people
>> printing the book can use whatever edition number they like without
>> having to coordinate with the Emacs developers.
>>
>
> That makes sense to me. The Emacs developers do prepare the print
> version for us. We might like to keep an online version that matches the
> print version. So maybe the solution could be to have two online
> versions, one that corresponds to print and is only updated when a new
> print version is made, and the other is the one that the developers with
> each release or whenever they feel is appropriate? And that latter
> version would not have any edition number. We wouldn't have any problem
> with the primary canonical manual link
> (https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/emacs.html) being used for
> the online-only version. What do you think?


Getting back to Eli's email:

> we should have a separate target in the Makefile, and we should maintain
> the last printed edition in some separate file, because no one will
> remember that otherwise.

A separate Makefile target would be fine, but the separate file should
be something that the FSF Press maintains. Having the edition numbers be
in a file that Emacs developers maintain would continue to cause
glitches like the ones noted above. The FSF Press is downstream from
developers, they generate edition numbers at their convenience not
developers', and they can and should be the ones who keep track of the
edition numbers that they maintain.

> The fact that some manuals use EDITION while others use VERSION also
> doesn't make this very clean, IMO.

Yes, that area could easily be made more systematic. For example, we
could systematically use just EDITION and DATE for all the FSF
Press-maintained info.

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Re: Fwd: version vs edition numbers in Emacs manuals

Eli Zaretskii
> Cc: [hidden email], [hidden email]
> From: Paul Eggert <[hidden email]>
> Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2019 11:42:09 -0800
>
> On 11/14/19 4:18 AM, Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>
> > I didn't see John's response, not sure why.  Can someone forward it to
> > me?
>
> Sure, here it is:

Thanks.

> > we should have a separate target in the Makefile, and we should maintain
> > the last printed edition in some separate file, because no one will
> > remember that otherwise.
>
> A separate Makefile target would be fine, but the separate file should
> be something that the FSF Press maintains.

How will that work in practice?  Isn't the printed version built by
using our Makefile's and our build infrastructure?  Then how can this
file be kept separate, and how will it be maintained to be available
when needed?

> The FSF Press is downstream from developers, they generate edition
> numbers at their convenience not developers', and they can and
> should be the ones who keep track of the edition numbers that they
> maintain.

Fine with me if that works.  But we must somehow make sure this
knowledge doesn't get lost.  Whoever prepares a manual for printing
should be aware that they need to do something that isn't already done
in the Emacs sources.  Maybe a simple README in those directories
could be the solution, e.g. if its name was indicative of its being a
necessary read when a manual is being prepared for printing.

Thoughts.

> > The fact that some manuals use EDITION while others use VERSION also
> > doesn't make this very clean, IMO.
>
> Yes, that area could easily be made more systematic. For example, we
> could systematically use just EDITION and DATE for all the FSF
> Press-maintained info.

I'd like that, yes.