following this discussion:
and this RFE:
the dir attribute was added to the docbook 4.3 DTD. To
my understanding of the given links, this attribute
should mimic the HTML dir attribute.
In HTML using the dir attribute sets the text direction
for the section it operates on, and adjusts the text in
the right direction. If we use dir="rtl" then the text
direction will be right to left, and the section will
be adjusted to the right.
I created the sample file "myfile.xml" that uses
dir="rtl" on the root element.
If you run xsltproc against it you can see that the
text is not adjusted according to the dir attribute.