[tex-live] MetaPost mfplain in Debian distro

Norbert Preining preining at logic.at
Mon Sep 22 08:18:18 CEST 2008

On Mo, 22 Sep 2008, Steve White wrote:
> However, there is a problem, my time was wasted, as was other people's.
> Some effort on the part of the TeX folks could help a lot.

You are free to join and help here, we are all volunteers at the end!

> > I couldn't say.  This is the vanilla TeX Live list, Debian-specific
> > issues need to be reported to Debian.
> >
> As I said, a report has been filed with Debian.  Nothing happened.  I

Are you talking about:
  #457711: texlive-metapost: mpost man page does not match reality

Do be honest: Do you expect a understaffed group, at the moment mostly
me (yes, Debian/TeX Live is also my creation) to care for a not-so-well
written man page when there are hundreds of more involved bugs present.
Take a look at the bug listings 
and rejoice. 

I prefer spending my time programming stuff for TeX Live (like tlmgr)
and fixing real bugs than fixing man pages.

Again, we are volunteers, you are free to improve the man page and send
me fixes, or better directly here.

If you have different problems than the man page please file decent bug
report. Titles containing "...man page..." are quite sure to be ignored.

> I don't know how the software was intended to work.  As installed on
> Debian systems, it doesn't seem to work the way the documentation
> describes it.

That is true, mfplain has not been set up at all. Period. That was the
case in TeX Live 2007, so it is the case in the Debian packages. And
what the man page says is irrelevant to some point (well to the point
that we cannot and will not check each and every man page, volunteers,
step forward!).

> > mfplain is meant to be dumped as a mem, not read as a straight file.


> If this had been plainly stated in the mpost man page and/or the PDF
> help file, my immediate problem would not have arisen.

A bit understanding of a TeX system might help. If you want to fiddle
with things which are not provided by the distribution (Debian TeX Live,
or for 2007, also normal TeX Live), then you should know your way around
the corners of a TeX system. 

> > I don't recall why mfplain isn't directly in TL any more, or if it ever
> > was.  Maybe we thought no one used it?  Yours is the first report I've
> > ever seen about it :).  Seems like it should be easy enough to (re)add,
> > in any case.
> >
> Maybe many people tried to use it, saw the hours ticking by, and gave
> up. A tiny fraction of them wrote but reports.   Outlandish idea?

Well, then nobody can complain.

> Karl, my report was maybe the first you've seen, but let me point out
> again, reports have been filed elsewhere (I mentioned Matijs van
> Zuijlen's bug report
>    http://lists.debian.org/debian-tex-maint/2007/12/msg00174.html )

As mentioned above, that is about a MAN page. Please file decent bug
reports, a title
	Please add mfplain format
	Please make mfplain working
or something else would be useful.

> I don't know how the software is meant to be installed, and I don't
> know whose fault it is, I just know that the first time I tried it, it
> did not work as advertized.

Nobodies fault. It was just not included in the sense not set up at all.
And nobody complained. 

> My understanding is that this list is the bug reporting system for the
> project. 

Right. It is.

> You have two bug reports.  Please work together with the
> Debian folks to improve the distribution of your software.

It has already been fixed. And will probably be included in the Debian
packges of TeX Live 2008.

Best wishes


Dr. Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at>        Vienna University of Technology
Debian Developer <preining at debian.org>                         Debian TeX Group
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