[tex-live] texdoc can't find texmf.cnf

David Kastrup dak at gnu.org
Mon Jun 23 14:33:23 CEST 2008

Manuel Pegourie-Gonnard <mpg at elzevir.fr> writes:

> David Kastrup a écrit :
>>> You make the real point here.  TeX Live is not only for geeks and
>>> hackers, it's also for "normal" users, and those want to see pdf,
>>> because it's a standard, they already have a reader and are used to
>>> it.
>> No.  The normal users want to see texts and not worry about the format
>> it is in.  And if they have a viewer which is an order of magnitude
>> faster and integrates with their editor (source specials), they will
>> certainly prefer that.
> They probably don't worry about the format, but they certainly do about the
> viewer.  And most of them are used to a pdf viewer, but not to a dvi viewer.
>  Something like xdvi looks very strange to someone just discovering the TeX
> world.
> Anyway, I don't know which kind of "normal" users you know, but the "normal"
> users around me (most of them phd students in math, using TeX daily) do
> prefer their documentation in pdf.
>> The "user" does not look at "strange formats".  He clicks on files and
>> buttons.
> And is disappointed because he doesn't know which button to click in xdvi...
>> CTAN is a different matter.  It is an archive, not a complete system.
>> Standalone files make sense there.
> But TeX live is far from independent of CTAN.  If there are pdfs on CTAN,
> there will be pdfs in TL.  Anyway, I don't see the point in using a
> non-standalone and non-standard format just because we could...

The viewer is an order of magnitude faster and offers instantaneous
looking class functions and rulers for fine layout control.  It
integrates with editors via Source Specials (meaning that one could
visit .dtx files at the right line with a click in the DVI file,
something which would be _very_ handy for source2e.dvi, for example).
The files are an order of magnitude smaller than PDF files.

This is not a matter of "just because we could".  It's usability.  In
contrast to the PDF files, however, the DVI files should not be checked
into the Build tree, but rather built from .dtx fresh.  That way, things
like relative source special directories and actually available fonts
and stuff can be assured at build time.  In short: one should make best
use of the fact that DVI files are not standalone, but integrated into
the system.

It may well be that we don't have the resources to do this now.  But
that does not mean we need to pretend that it would not be useful.

David Kastrup

More information about the tex-live mailing list