[tex-live] free software, DFSG

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Sat Jun 5 00:06:54 CEST 2004

    because after reading *every* *single* *post* to this list for the
    past year (and most of the other lists on CTAN), so much of the TeX
    install and configuration issues are still a mystery to me, 

What kind of install/configuration issues are a mystery?
Do you have any specifics in mind?  Is the TL installation documentation
not helpful?  I substantially rewrote it last year, ideas for
improvement are welcome.

Technically, it is not really that complex, in the end, at least if you
restrict your attention to one implementation, say web2c/kpathsea/unix.
There are zillions of files and zillions of details, but it comes down
to search paths (texmf.cnf) and finding files along those paths.  But
you've probably gathered that much already, and it's the zillions of
details that are the problem ...

    as well as an understanding of what packages might be considered

Ah, well, you see, there is no standard.  It's kind of like having a
reference implementation for a language: if a package is included in TeX
Live, well then, you could say it's standard in TeX Live.  Self-defining
and not very useful.  There is no overarching list of "standard" LaTeX
packages which all implementations try to adhere to.  We put new random
packages in TL when people ask for them, basically.

    'possible strategic directions' or archives that I
    could peruse?

This list is as good as any; you might find the TDS list/archives
interesting, or you might not.  There is no single list devoted to
"TeX strategy".  There is no TeX strategy.  There is no single TeX
community, or project, or anything else.  Both a strength and a weakness.

    more about what we *have* and what we *might want*.

I think handling Unicode is the biggest thing we might want.
Current Omega does not suffice.

The latest thing I read on that was Plaice/Haralambous/et al.'s
contribution to TUG 2003, which outlines an incredibly general
strategy to doing this, kind of like what Olaf was talking about.
There's a preprint somewhere on http://tug.org/tug2003.

However, you'll find that doesn't get you any closer to some project you
can contribute to on the ground, it's the view from 10,000 feet.  Aleph
(aka e-omega) is, from all I've seen, by far the most realistic/workable
project in this area.  The principal maintainer (Giuseppe Bilotta) is on
this list; maybe you could contribute there.


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