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.dvi versus .tex and .ps

   archiving format contest:  .dvi versus .tex and .ps

Dear J"org

 > I don't think, that storing documents in dvi-format only is a good
 > idea. I have made too many bad experiences.

 > To my experience, only TeX source code in seven bit ASCII code is
 > really portable. Second best is a dvips postscript file for 300dpi.

     It is true that .dvi files are not popular.  But the reasons seem
flimsy to me.  The .dvi is an ugly duckling that is ready to
metamorphose into a gracious swan.

     In many cases I would recommend posting both the .dvi and .tex
formats.  Both are remarkably compact, hence suitable for archiving.
In scientific work many authors refuse to post .tex format except for
their closest collaborators.  

      The use of .tex format is more or less out of question as an
exclusive choice for a big archive because of the essentially
unsolvable problem of parallel archiving of the numerous, voluminous,
constantly evolving .tex support files.  I imagine that some of us
believe in imposing one standard set of .tex support files on every
author demanding electronic publication.  I do not; and a significant
advantage my standardized atomic CM face scheme is that it does NOT
require support file standardization.

     As for .ps format, versions that are resolution independent and
user friendly are typically 10 times as bulky as the .tex and .dvi
formats.  And most such are in technical violation of font copyright
in one country or another.

     A dvips postscript file incorporating bitmapped 300dpi .pk files
will not preview at most sites, and will not print at high quality.
It is reasonably portable in spite of its considerable bulk.

     Note that an archive based on atomic .dvi files using the CM face
of Knuth can and should be set up to deliver such PS files on demand.
It could generate them interactively using .dvips.  (Sojka has just
noted that there is a dvips setting that bannishes the accent drift
problem of Zlatushka in this context.)  This possiblity is important
because an archive should make some effort to reach out beyond the
not-quite-all-encompassing circle of TeX users.

    Laurent Siebenmann

PS The PostScript "acrobat" format is a new contender that I have not
evaluated.  I suspect that that many of the above remarks on .ps
format apply.