[tex-live] web2c-win32 volunteer?

George N. White III aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca
Tue Apr 13 17:13:39 CEST 2004

On Tue, 13 Apr 2004, Hans Hagen wrote:

> At 13:34 11/04/2004, George N. White III wrote:
> >There is also teTeX on cygwin.  4AllTeX (the preferred distro of our
> >Win32 users for years) lagged in support for pdftex and MikTeX had
> >conflicts (.dll versions) with some of our other apps.  Cygwin and
> >teTeX was the only way to accomplish certain tasks on Win32.
> but cygwin is a monster to install (when backing up my system a few days
> ago i noticed the incredible amount of files)

For a development environment, yes, but I'm told that for runtime all you
need is one .dll.  Of course, teTeX uses quite a few utilities (perl, awk,

The problem we face is diminishing returns for maintaining less widely
used tools on Win32.  You want a way to focus efforts to provide native
Win32 tools on ones everybody needs, but there aren't the resources to
handle all the tools that are available on the other platforms.

> >Xemtex is clearly differentiated from MikTeX.  With the exception of
> >ConTeXt and users who move between teTeX on *n*x and Win32, MikTeX
> >serves well.  I don't know if there are still people encountering
> hm, context should work ok with miktex

The big stumbling block has been getting the perl scripts working.  FpTeX
gets a head start because it includes a perl runtime, but there were
problems getting the right kind of slashes in the path to kpathsea for
Win9x and with directory names that contain spaces.

> >My guess is that it would not be too hard to provide Cygwin teTeX
> >together with *n*x and OSX, but it has been over a year since I used
> >Cygwin teTeX, so I don't know if there is a current port.
> but cygwin tetex is not really that suited for more demanding apps as well
> as intergration in non cygwin editors and alike,
> if we look at what is neeed for windows, we're talking about
> - a bunch of binaries
> - an installer
> generating and maintining the binaries is -as you said- crippled by the
> hostile starting point, while the installer is crippled by complex
> dependecies and inconsistencies; simply changing to a 'simulated unix on
> windows' will not solve that problem; we have to accept that
> unix/windows/mac have their own specific demands, pro's and con's and that
> a 'generic' distrubition should address their problematic areas with equal
> priorities.

Cygwin tetex has been useful for tasks that could not be accomplished
using the available Windows disto.  Recently my first inclination when a
Windows TeX falls down is to give the user a unix account and make them
figure out emacs.

In the long run, people will find ways to work with XemTeX, e.g., future
tex4ht will work without dvips and pstricks will be replaced by pgf.  If
not, at least they will know xemacs and shouldn't have much trouble
figuring out teTeX on linux.

George N. White III  <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
  Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada

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