[tex-live] Kpathsea in TL2007

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Mon Feb 19 13:32:32 CET 2007

On 2/18/07, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:

>     As an aside, why anyone would want to have a file called "foo"
> On Unix, executables are named, for example, "dvips", without any
> extension.  When someone runs "tex dvips", they expect to find
> dvips.tex, not the dvips binary.  After umpteen bug reports about this,
> I proposed and implemented the rules as they are now (some 15 years ago).
> It seems various changes have been made since then, but I think the
> basic strategy still holds.
> It seems fine to me that the behavior on Windows is different in this
> regard, because Windows executables (and files in general) aren't
> extensionless.

The user community is not at all the same as it was for the first 2/3
of the past 15 years.  Although windows uses .exe, .bat, etc., many
users don't see these anymore because recent versions hide extensions.
 It is also unfortunate that Windows tends to capitalize file names
while ignoring case, so users will have "file1.tex" "File2.tex", etc.
but "\input file1 \input file2 ..." Furthermore, many mainstream tools
(R, Matlab) are widely used on both Windows and *x systems, so it has
become common to have multi-author projects where some authors are on
linux and others on Windows.  When everyone was using lowercase ASCII
8.3 names without spaces (or UTF-8 encoding), most documents could be
formatted on either DOS or unix with little effort.

> I fully support Heiko's suggestion of a new primitive with grouping
> characters so that arbitrary filenames can be read.  I imagine the
> pdftex or ntg-pdftex list is the best place to discuss that.

There needs to be some attention to document portability and
debugging.  Just as some programming languages have "strict" flags to
help point out when language extensions are being used, TeX could have
optional checks for portable filenames and missing extensions.

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

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