The Crash Course to DocBook

2.2. The Old Way: the DocBook-tools

The DocBook-Tools consist of several packages that work together to convert DocBook SGML files into many other formats, and to perform other miscellaneous operations. The output formats include:


We have said that the DocBook-tools were made for SGML DocBook. That's true, but they can also handle XML DocBook files.

The home page of the DocBook-Tools project is at and the packages themselves can be obtained from or one of its mirrors. Some commercial distributions have adopted the DocBook-Tools and provide them on their CD.

The DocBook-Tools include the following packages:


basic SGML declarations and tools


a SGML and DSSSL stylesheets engine


a set of TeX macros used by the files generated by Jade


DocBook's SGML DTD (there's one package per version of the DTD)


Norman Walsh's DSSSL stylesheets for DocBook


Interface between Perl and SGML


Helper shell scripts and perl utilities


Major mode for Emacs to edit SGML files

We will describe here only the RPM version of these packages. For other package formats, you will need to adapt the instructions below.

  1. Download the packages

  2. Install them

as in the following session example:

$ ncftp
ncftp> cd pub/docbook-tools/new-trials/RPMS
ncftp> mget i386/*.rpm
ncftp> mget noarch/*.rpm
ncftp> quit
$ su
Password: ultra-sucure
# rpm -ih sgml-common*.rpm
# rpm -ih jade*.rpm
# rpm -ih jadetex*.rpm
# rpm -ih docbook-dtd44-sgml*.rpm
# rpm -ih docbook-style-dsssl*.rpm
# rpm -ih perl-SGMLSpm*.rpm
# rpm -ih docbook-utils*.rpm
# exit


The order of installing packages is important.


When you are upgrading, rather than installing for the first time, the rpm -ih steps should be replaced with rpm -Uh.

You are now ready to edit SGML/DocBook documents, then convert them to other formats. To do that, you will use one of the following commands: