[tex-live] Kpathsea in TL2007

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Mon Feb 19 15:40:11 CET 2007

On 2/19/07, Vedran Miletić <rivanvx at gmail.com> wrote:

> You don't seem to understand. While this might seem sad state of
> affairs to you, it's a heavenly perfect state of affairs to a *X user
> who actually thinks all the bad things about Windows state of affairs
> (including hiding extensions by default, which is probably the most
> brain-dead thing that anyone has ever done).

> 2007/2/19, Philip Taylor (Webmaster) <P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk>:
> >
> > Yes, that's the problem : but clearly *X aficionados are happy
> > with this sad state of affairs, so there's little than can be
> > done until they finally see the error of their ways ...

TeX on windows has a sorry history of failed or abandoned efforts,
both commercial and free (4allTeX, emtex, Y&Y, fptex, ...).  There are
simialrl problems with the 3rd party tools (perl, ghostscript, etc. )
My impression is that there are many more TeX users for whom Windows
is their primary OS than all the *X users combined, and there has been
no shortage of people willing to do ports, but the effort required is
just too great to sustain.   All the same complaints that *X users are
reluctant to add ugly #ifdef Windows patches apply equally to the 3rd
party tools, but this is just part of the battle.

I suspect a big part of the problem is the difficulty of supporting a
much larger user community, including many novice users.   This has
certainly been my experience -- *X users just get on with using TeX
while Windows users often find TeX unreliable.  Many of the problems
have been with 3rd party tools (ghostscript, perl, editors, etc.), but
to the users it is TeX jobs that fail, and the only remedy they know
is to install a different package, so you find systems with bits of 2
different miktex versions, 4alltex, Y&Y, pctex, and fptex/TeXLive.

Package managers are a big help in making *X easier to support, but
there are also benefits from a smaller and more cohesive user
community and one TeX distribution (teTeX) that worked for almost

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

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