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LDP Weekly News

by David Merrill

Documents Available in Plucker Format

The Linux Documentation Project has just added support for another documentation format: the "Plucker" format. Plucker is a GPL-licensed offline HTML viewer for users of Palm-based PDAs (such as the Palm and Handspring Visor series).

Plucker supports compression, hypertext links, clickable images, italics, bold, varying-sized fonts, multiple databases, and configurable display parameters and stylus options. Plucker also includes programs to compress HTML documents into the Plucker format, essentially a compressed form of HTML. This kind of compression is necessary on PDAs, which have limited amounts of memory. More information, and the Plucker software, is available at

Users of these PDAs can now download various LDP documents from the web, push their base's "synchronize" button, and suddenly have those LDP documents available on their PDAs wherever they are. This saves users from having to install and use Plucker's compression programs (including figuring out what options work best for the LDP). Opening a document on the PDA shows that document's summary and a hypertext table of contents; users can use the stylus to go immediately to the section they need, or read the whole document if they wish. Once the documents are in one PDA, users can also exchange them with other PDAs by "beaming" them (using infrared connections).

Supporting plucker will hopefully encourage the use of GNU/Linux and free software/open source software (FS/OSS), since by making it easier to put LDP documents in PDAs, the documents should become more widespread. Hopefully making "plucker" format available will also discourage the use of proprietary formats for FS/OSS related documentation, which has already happened in a few cases.

Thanks go to David A. Wheeler for helping us out with testing, and to our HOWTO Coordinator, Greg Ferguson, for doing the implementation.

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