[tex-live] texdoc should always use TEXDOCS

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Mar 16 12:29:27 CET 2007

On 3/16/07, Frank Küster <frank at kuesterei.ch> wrote:

> "George N. White III" <gnwiii at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 3/15/07, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:
> >
> >>     Sure -- each linux distro has its own fork
> >>
> >> Of course.  I meant an upstream single source to whom the patch should
> >> be reported.
> >
> > My understanding is that the single upstream source dried up when T.E.
> > stopped maintaining tetex and nobody stepped up to continue his good
> > works.
> In a way, TeXLive is the successor of teTeX.  At least this is how Linux
> (or other) distributions should see it, unless they want to either stick
> with teTeX 3.0 for ever, or maintain it themselves.

Well, some have been maintaining teTeX to the extent that it continues
to work on
their current releases, at least well enough to format documentation.

One key test for TL is whether it continues to support building
packages that use TeX for documentation.

If developers start relying on things that are in newer versions of
pdftex and latex, linux distros will have to change.   The need to
support all major languages (e.g.,
generate searchable PDF's) may be a reason for some vendors to abandon
teTeX.  When good OpenType fonts become commonplace for TeX and xetex
has been merged with pdftex, teTeX will no longer be viable.

> And all the great tools Thomas developed are maintained in TeXLive,
> aren't they?

I think that would be a change for TeXLive:

1.  the philosophy to date has been more like "use what's in CTAN".

2.  TL aims to support all *X and Windows.  In terms of the software
documentation, this could help projects that hope to allow builds on
the same range of platforms, although in practice I think many resort
to cross-compilation or just use documentation built on linux in
Windows (binary) releases.  The R-Project is a case in point.

3.  TL aims to include most of CTAN.  teTeX was a carefully chosen
subset that provided a reliable platform for people to get on with
making documents.  The size of TL is a bit of a problem for linux
vendors seeking to make a distro fit on a DVD, but the real problem is
that too much flexibility leads to documents that aren't portable
across platforms and that won't work in a few years (because they rely
on packages that aren't being maintained).  This can be handled by
organizing packages so it is easy to find a robust subset that meets
the needs of most users.

If TL is widely accepted by debian users, that will be a big step
towards getting traction with other linux distros.

Given the release schedule for TL, distros using TL are going to get
bug reports thru their own trackers and will need to release patches
on a more timely schedule.   The annual TL release process should
include a review of vendor patches (for both teTeX and TL) so they get
into the release.  Doing this would help ensure that TL is really
working for linux users.

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

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