[tex-live] tl2rpm: TeX Live 2008 packages to rpm converter

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun Aug 24 19:37:44 CEST 2008

On Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 1:13 PM, Robin Fairbairns
<Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> i wonder how many users will actually be in a situation to use on-line
> updates.  most at my lab won't...

The needs of people who want to format the current research paper/report
and have no plans to format the document again once it is finished are not the
same as those producing source code and associated documents that may
need to be modified and formatted many times in the years or even decades
to come.

Many of the people I encounter (labs scattered around the world) have been
in the habit of just copying missing bits into the directory with the document,
which is fine as a short-term workaround, but can cause problems when they
start next year's report by copying last years directory and globally changing
<year> to <year+1>!

The R stats package is guilty of this -- the 2.7.1 source has epsf.tex
from dvips (same as texlive/2008/texmf-dist/tex/generic/epsf/epsf.tex)
and pdfcolor.tex (same as texlive/2008/texmf-dist/tex/plain/misc/pdfcolor.tex),
both in the doc/manual directory.  The docs use LaTeX and texinfo.
I assume this was done because the files weren't present or were
old versions in some platforms where R is built.   R provides a bunch
of packages  in source form, including the .tex and .texi source, but with
pre-built .pdf's.  On my system those pdf's were built with:

Creator:        LaTeX with hyperref package
Producer:       pdfTeX-1.10b
CreationDate:   Thu Oct 30 20:11:00 2003

Creator:        TeX
Producer:       pdfeTeX-1.21a
CreationDate:   Thu Jun  1 13:55:54 2006

I think many other open source projects have similar approaches
to documentation.  Certainly there are many copies of texinfo.tex
under my /usr/src/redhat/BUILD (bur the R-2.7.1 part, although
many of the docs do use texinfo).

I liked table.tex, so now I like tap.tex even more (because most
of our documents have color images, we get color in tables and
headings at no extra cost).   If a user already has the table (from
some paper) they may end up using table.tex or tap.tex for
documentation that goes into a the software package.  Later,
someone is faced with having to either include the macros of
rewrite the table to use something more widely available.

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

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