making python man pages looks hard

Fredrik Lundh fredrik at
Fri Aug 20 14:36:46 CEST 1999

(posted and mailed)

Dan Connolly <connolly at> wrote:
> I happen to be a *big fan* of the python documentation[2] as is
> but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be available as
> man pages too. Or at least... I didn't.

> The source format is LaTeX. Converting from LaTeX is hard/messy:
> ...
> For example, I conjecture that it is impossible to write a program that
> will extract the third word from a TeX document. It would be an easy
> task for 80% of the TeX documents out there -- just skip over some
> formatting stuff and grab the third bunch of characters surrounded by
> whitespace.
> ...

luckily, Fred Drake has already made most of the hard work
here -- check the Doc/tools/sgmlconv directory:


$ more Doc/tools/sgmlconv/README
These scripts and Makefile fragment are used to convert the Python
documentation in LaTeX format to SGML.  XML is also supported as a
target, but is unlikely to be used.

This material is preliminary and incomplete.


not sure how incomplete, though.  I don't have things setup
so I can try the current release of this (from the CVS archive),
but maybe Fred can give us a status update?

(maybe he has, I cannot say I've bothered to read *all* the
messages on the group today...  sigh...)

anyway, if this stuff works, writing an esis2man converter
cannot be *that* hard.


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