[tex-live] texdoc should always use TEXDOCS

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Fri Mar 16 12:59:00 CET 2007

"George N. White III" <gnwiii at gmail.com> wrote:

> One key test for TL is whether it continues to support building
> packages that use TeX for documentation.

Indeed, but that's rather a question of the quality of the
distribution's TL packaging, or of documentation that still uses
long-obsolete hacks which stopped working.

> If developers start relying on things that are in newer versions of
> pdftex and latex, linux distros will have to change.   The need to
> support all major languages (e.g.,
> generate searchable PDF's) may be a reason for some vendors to abandon
> teTeX.  When good OpenType fonts become commonplace for TeX and xetex
> has been merged with pdftex, teTeX will no longer be viable.

What about users who want to have an up-to-date TeX package on their
Linux system?

>> And all the great tools Thomas developed are maintained in TeXLive,
>> aren't they?
> I think that would be a change for TeXLive:
> 1.  the philosophy to date has been more like "use what's in CTAN".

Well, Tpm.pm isn't on CTAN either.  That is a distribution-specific
tool, just as fmtutil or mktexlsr.

> 2.  TL aims to support all *X and Windows.  In terms of the software
> documentation, this could help projects that hope to allow builds on
> the same range of platforms, although in practice I think many resort
> to cross-compilation or just use documentation built on linux in
> Windows (binary) releases.  The R-Project is a case in point.

I don't know how fmtutil and these things work on windows, but I also
don't see how this is related to the question of maintaining Thomas'
tools in TeXlive.  Either they do work for both now, then it's
irrelevant.  Or they don't, then we should in the long run try to find a
unified way.  But they still continue to be somewhat

> 3.  TL aims to include most of CTAN.  teTeX was a carefully chosen
> subset that provided a reliable platform for people to get on with
> making documents.  The size of TL is a bit of a problem for linux
> vendors seeking to make a distro fit on a DVD, 

TL in Debian has a "texlive-full" and a much smaller "texlive" package.
We could even provide a texlive-tetex one.  I don't see the point.  

> but the real problem is
> that too much flexibility leads to documents that aren't portable
> across platforms and that won't work in a few years (because they rely
> on packages that aren't being maintained).  This can be handled by
> organizing packages so it is easy to find a robust subset that meets
> the needs of most users.

I think you are now talking about something different than

| >> And all the great tools Thomas developed are maintained in TeXLive,
| >> aren't they?
| >
| > I think that would be a change for TeXLive:

It seems you are suggesting a reorganization of TeXLive collections?
Which should be the criteria for this in your opinion - "decent subset",
"maintained packages", "not too large"?  How do you define "maintained"
- there are packages that didn't see a change for years, but they still
work fine and do their job.

> Given the release schedule for TL, distros using TL are going to get
> bug reports thru their own trackers and will need to release patches
> on a more timely schedule.   The annual TL release process should
> include a review of vendor patches (for both teTeX and TL) so they get
> into the release.  Doing this would help ensure that TL is really
> working for linux users.

That's right.  Being used to the Debian BTS or sourceforge's tracker
system, I always missed something like this for TeXLive, for submitting
small patches and ideas.  

Regards, Frank
Dr. Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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