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tldp - tools for publishing from TLDP sources

MIT license

This package was written for the Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) to help with management and publication automation of source documents. The primary interface provided is a command-line tool caalled ldptool. The canonical location of this software is:

The ldptool executable can:

  • crawl through any number of source collection directories
  • crawl through a single output collection
  • match the sources to the outputs (based on document stem name)
  • describe supported source formats (--formats)
  • describe the meaning of document status (--statustypes)
  • describe the collection by type and status (--summary)
  • list out individual document type and status (--list)
  • build the expected (non-configurable) set of outputs (--build)
  • build and publish the outputs (--publish)
  • produce runnable shell script to STDOUT (--script)

The tools in this package process source documents in the TLDP document repository and generate the following set of outputs from each source document.

  • .pdf, PDF
  • .txt, text
  • -single.html, a one-page HTML document
  • .html, a multipage HTML document

(We may add other output formats; an epub format is under consideration.)

Supported input formats are:

  • Asciidoc
  • Linuxdoc
  • Docbook SGML 3.x (though deprecated, please no new submissions)
  • Docbook SGML 4.x
  • Docbook XML 4.x
  • Docbook XML 5.x (basic support, as of 2016-03-10)

Example usages

If your attempts to run the below commands don't work or generate errors, see also Minimal configuration.

Here are some example usages against a live checkout of the LDP source repository and a local cache of the output tree:

To see what work needs to be done, ldptool --list:

$ ldptool  --list
orphan    <unknown>            Bugzilla-Guide
new       DocBook XML 4.x      DocBook-Demystification-HOWTO
stale     DocBook XML 4.x      Linux-Dictionary
broken    DocBook SGML 3.x/4.x PHP-Nuke-HOWTO
stale     Linuxdoc             User-Group-HOWTO

To see publication status of each document::

$ ldptool --list all | head -n 3
published Linuxdoc             3-Button-Mouse
published Linuxdoc             3D-Modelling
published Linuxdoc             4mb-Laptops

To get more information about the newer or missing files in a specific document::

$ ldptool --verbose --list Linux-Dictionary
stale     DocBook XML 4.x      Linux-Dictionary
         doctype <class 'tldp.doctypes.docbook4xml.Docbook4XML'>
      output dir /home/mabrown/tmp/en/Linux-Dictionary
     source file /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/Linux-Dictionary.xml
    newer source /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/Contributors.xml
    newer source /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/D.xml
    newer source /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/J.xml
    newer source /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/O.xml
    newer source /home/mabrown/vcs/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/Linux-Dictionary/S.xml

To see what the entire source collection looks like, use ldptool --summary::

$ ldptool --summary
By Status Type
source     503  3-Button-Mouse, 3D-Modelling, 4mb-Laptops, and 500 more ...
output     503  3-Button-Mouse, 3D-Modelling, 4mb-Laptops, and 500 more ...
published  503  3-Button-Mouse, 3D-Modelling, 4mb-Laptops, and 500 more ...
stale        0
orphan       0
broken       1  HOWTO-INDEX
new          0

By Document Type
Linuxdoc              226  3-Button-Mouse, 3D-Modelling, and 224 more ...
Docbook4XML           130  8021X-HOWTO, abs-guide, and 128 more ...
Docbook5XML             1  Assembly-HOWTO
DocbookSGML           146  ACP-Modem, and 145 more ...

To build and publish a single document::

$ ldptool --publish DocBook-Demystification-HOWTO
$ ldptool --publish ~/vcs/LDP/LDP/howto/docbook/Valgrind-HOWTO.xml

To build and publish anything that is new or updated work::

$ ldptool --publish
$ ldptool --publish work

To (re-)build and publish everything, regardless of state::

$ ldptool --publish all

To generate a specific output (into a --builddir)::

$ ldptool --build DocBook-Demystification-HOWTO

To generate all outputs into a --builddir (should exist)::

$ ldptool --builddir ~/tmp/scratch-directory/ --build all

To build new/updated work, but pass over a trouble-maker::

$ ldptool --build --skip HOWTO-INDEX

To loudly generate all outputs, except a trouble-maker::

$ ldptool --build all --loglevel debug --skip HOWTO-INDEX

To print out a shell script for building a specific document::

$ ldptool --script TransparentProxy
$ ldptool --script ~/vcs/LDP/LDP/howto/docbook/Assembly-HOWTO.xml


The ldptool utility is largely written to be interactive or a supervised batch process. It uses STDERR as its logstream and sets the default loglevel at logging.ERROR. At this log level, in --script, --build and --publish mode, it should report nothing to STDERR. To increase progress verbosity, setting the loglevel to info (--loglevel info) may help with understanding what work the tool is performing. If you need to collect diagnostic information for troubleshooting or bug reports, ldptool supports --loglevel debug.


The ldptool comes with support for reading its settings from the command-line, environment or a system and/or user-specified configuration file. If you want to generate a sample configuration file to edit and use later, you can run::

ldptool --dump-cfg > my-ldptool.cfg
ldptool --configfile my-ldptool.cfg --list
LDPTOOL_CONFIGFILE=/path/to/ldptool.cfg ldptool --list

Source document identification

TLDP's source repository contains many separate directories containing documents (e.g. LDP/howto/docbook, LDP/howto/linuxdoc). Each of these directories may contain documents; to ldptool each of these is a --sourcedir.

A source document (in a --sourcedir) can be a file or a directory. Here are two examples. The Assembly-HOWTO.xml is an entire document stored as a single file. The directory BRIDGE-STP-HOWTO exists and contains its main document, a file named BRIDGE-STP-HOWTO.sgml. In the case of a source document that is a directory, the stem name of the primary document must match the name of the directory.:


Each document for a single run of ldptool can be uniquely identified by its stem name. In the above, the stems are Assembly-HOWTO and BRIDGE-STP-HOWTO. It is an error to have two documents with the same stem name and the second discovered document will be ignored.

There is a directory containing the output collection. Each directory is named by the stem name of the source document and contains the output formats for each source document. Here are the corresponding output directories for the above two documents::

  ... and more ...

  ... and more ...

Minimal configuration

The most important configuration parameters that ldptool takes are the set of source directories (in which to find documents) and the output directory, in which to create the resulting outputs. It will not be able to run unless it has at least one --sourcedir and an existing --pubdir directory.

If you have an LDP checkout in your home directory, here's an example which would process all of the Linuxdoc HOWTO docs::

mkdir LDP-output-tree
ldptool --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/howto/linuxdoc --pubdir LDP-output-tree

If you would like to create a sample configuration file for use later (or for copying into the system location, /etc/ldptool/ldptool.ini, you can generate your own config file as follows::

ldptool > sample-ldptool.cfg \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/faq/linuxdoc/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/guide/linuxdoc/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/howto/linuxdoc/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/howto/docbook/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/guide/docbook/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/ref/docbook/ \
        --sourcedir $HOME/LDP/LDP/faq/docbook/ \
        --pubdir $HOME/LDP-output/ \
        --loglevel info \

Then, you can run the same configuration again with::

ldptool --configfile sample-ldptool.cfg

The ldptool program tries to locate all of the tools it needs to process documents. Each source format requires a certain set of tools, for example, to process DocBook 4.x XML, ldptool needs the executables xmllint, xstlproc, html2text, fop and dblatex. It also requires the XSL files for generating FO, chunked HTML and single-page HTML. All of the items are configurable on the command-line or in the configuration file, but here's a sample config file stanza::

xslchunk = /usr/share/xml/docbook/stylesheet/ldp/html/tldp-sections.xsl
xslsingle = /usr/share/xml/docbook/stylesheet/ldp/html/tldp-one-page.xsl
fop = /usr/bin/fop
dblatex = /usr/bin/dblatex
xsltproc = /usr/bin/xsltproc
html2text = /usr/bin/html2text
xslprint = /usr/share/xml/docbook/stylesheet/ldp/fo/tldp-print.xsl
xmllint = /usr/bin/xmllint

The above stanza was generated by running ldptool --dump-cfg on an Ubuntu 14.04 system which had all of the software dependencies installed. If your distribution does not supply ldp-docbook-xsl, for example, you would need to fetch those files, put them someplace in the filesystem and adjust your configuration file or command-line invocations accordingly.

Software dependencies

There are a large number of packages listed here in the dependency set. This is because the supporting software for processing Linuxdoc and the various DocBook formats is split across many upstream packages and repositories.

The generated python packages (see below) do not include the explicit dependencies to allow the package manager (e.g. apt, zypper, dnf) to install the dependencies. This would be a nice improvement.

Here are the dependencies needed for this tool to run:

Ubuntu / Debian

  • linuxdoc-tools{,-text,-latex}
  • docbook{,-dsssl,-xsl,-utils}
  • htmldoc{,-common}
  • xsltproc
  • fop
  • sgml2x
  • opensp
  • openjade
  • ldp-docbook-xsl
  • ldp-docbook-dsssl
  • html2text
  • docbook5-xml
  • docbook-xsl-ns
  • jing
  • asciidoc
  • libxml2-utils


  • htmldoc
  • openjade
  • sgmltool
  • html2text
  • docbook{,5}-xsl-stylesheets
  • docbook-dsssl-stylesheets
  • docbook-utils-minimal
  • docbook-utils
  • jing
  • asciidoc
  • libxml2-tools
  • libxslt-tools

There are a few additional data files that are needed, specifically, the TLDP XSL and DSSSL files that are used by the respective DocBook SGML (openjade) and DocBook XML (xsltproc) processing engines to generate the various outputs.

On Debian-based systems, there are packages available from the distributor called ldp-docbook-{xsl,dsssl}. There aren't any such packages for RPM (yet).

Supported Python versions

This package was developed against Python-2.7.8 and Python-3.4.1 (on OpenSUSE). It has been used on Python-2.7.6 (Ubuntu-14.04) and Python-3.4.2 and Python-2.7.9 (on Debian 8).

Continuous Integration testing information and coverage can be reviewed at this project's Travis CI page.


This is a pure-Python package, and you should be able to use your favorite Python tool to install it on your system. The python-tldp package (ldptool) requires a large number of other packages, most of which are outside of the Python ecosystem. There's room for improvement here, but here are a few tidbits.

Build an RPM:

python sdist && rpmbuild -ta ./dist/python-tldp-${VERSION}.tar.gz

There's a generated file, contrib/tldp.spec, which makes a few changes to the setuptools stock-generated specfile. It adds the dependencies, marks the configuration file as %config(noreplace), adds a manpage and names the binary package python-tldp.

Build a DEB:

Check to see if the package is available from upstream. It may be included in the Debian repositories already:

apt-cache search tldp

The quick and dirty way is as follows:

python --command-packages=stdeb.command bdist_deb

But, there is also a debian directory. If you are working straight from the git checkout, you should be able to generate an installable (unsigned) Debian package with:

bash contrib/ -us -uc

Install using pip:

Unknown. Because the tool relies so heavily on system-installed non-Python tools, I have not bothered to try installing the package using pip. It should work equivalently as well as running the program straight from a checkout. If you learn anything here or have suggestions, for me, please feel free to send them along.