Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF

Keith Moore <> Fri, 26 February 2021 16:43 UTC

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Subject: Re: document writing/editing tools used by IETF
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From: Keith Moore <>
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Date: Fri, 26 Feb 2021 11:43:11 -0500
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On 2/26/21 10:48 AM, Behcet Sarikaya wrote:

> I think a lot of people would like to use Word because of wide 
> spread use of MS Office in workplace. It is almost standard there. 
> Appreciating this even Apple comes up with Office for MAC software.
Yes, I'm sure that one of the reasons some people like to use Word is 
that they're already familiar with it from their workplaces.
> I disagree with those who say MS-Word collaboration is not good, that 
> means you don't know Word well :)

You say that like it's a bad thing :)

Also a lot of people don't use Word but use some other WP program that 
claims to support Word format.   In my experience this generally works 
ok for a single conversion, but works really poorly when people using 
different tools try to alternate editing passes, exchanging documents 
back and forth using "Word" format.

I personally detest Word because I've spent so much time fighting it 
when I only wanted it to do very simple things.   Other WYSIWYG tools 
that support Word format seem to be no better and often slightly worse.

But I think IETF should try to let all contributors use the tools that 
they're comfortable with using, and thereby minimize conflicts over 
which tools to use when collaborating.   But we probably can't support 
everything and we should be pragmatic about it.   I suspect that 
"pragmatic" looks something like: (a) let document editors use whatever 
they want for initial drafts, and when there are multiple editors let 
them decide among themselves. (b) Allow internet-draft uploads in a 
reasonable variety of formats (e.g. text, xml2rfc, pdf, maybe html with 
some constraints (the devil is in the details), but in any case 
something that the IETF tools can convert to pdf and ideally plain text 
also).  (c) "final" copies (say, prior to WGLC but maybe earlier if the 
WG wants to use github or something like it) should be in xml2rfc or 
anything else the RFC Series Editor will accept.

(But the sooner the authors/editors try converting to the final format, 
the less likely they'll get bitten by conversion errors late in the 
process.   Late surprises are never fun.)