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William F Hammond <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 10 Apr 2003 11:21:24 -0400
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[log in to unmask] (TomH) writes to comp.text.tex:

> I have a number of books that I have marked up in Latex, and I would
> like to donate them to the Gutenberg project. For good or ill, they
> like plaintext files formatted according to strict rules.
> . . .
> Is there anything that converts Latex to a plain text file (say
> in Gutenberg format)?  . . .

Sadly, one of the problems when an author's investment in marking up a
document is tied to LaTeX, the possibilities for robust automatic
translation without human intervention to other editable formats range
from limited (for collections of LaTeX documents with a reasonable
amount of structure and some consistency) to nil (for arbitrary

It really would not be that hard to remedy this by providing a kind of
LaTeX document that is both LaTeX-able and translatable[*], but it
does need shared attention.  Implementation would involve much work by
a team.  Wouldn't this be a sensible step for LaTeX4?

                                    -- Bill

[*] A document is translatable if it has a markup structure that
furnishes a non-ambiguous base for the writing of automatic processors
that operate on its structure.  The project might well choose to
provide one or two such translations both for utility value and for
illustrating the implementation of a translation.