[tex-live] Fwd: [tldoc] offer of help with an install guide for the unsophisticated windows user

Yue Wang yuleopen at gmail.com
Tue Jan 13 10:17:39 CET 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Yue Wang <yuleopen at gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 5:15 PM
Subject: Re: [tldoc] offer of help with an install guide for the
unsophisticated windows user
To: Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org>
Cc: vanden at gmail.com, tldoc at tug.org

Hi, Karl and friends:

> Sorry to hear it.  It's supposed to be no harder than clicking "install"
> (and perhaps changing the target directory), but I guess not.  I wish we
> had a standard wizard.

This is not only an issue concerning the document. When I tried
Apple's Time Machine and Ubuntu's Wubi, I was impressed by the
excellent user interface design of these programs, and I thought we
can do that for TeXLive too. Honestly saying, the setup-tl and tlmgr
contained too much options and buzzwords for new users, and of course
we can certainly avoid that. For example, usually users are only
concerned about their journal papers and books. They care about E=mc^2
but don't want to learn something called "format", PATH, TEMFDIR,
TEXMFSYSCONFIG, texmf.cnf, or language.dat, and they are reluctant to
read the software manuals (inasmuch as reading the manual won't enable
them to publish dozens of papers on top journals). These should be
left for experience users. So I think we can make a new program
(should be more user-friendly) to the users. The current tlmgr can
still be there since it provide the user with the maximum
flexibilities for installation and maintain.

So here are my suggestions for our dvd. When autorun is started, it
should launch a window contained four buttons:
- use TeX Lively in a command window
- launch TeX Editing Environment
- install whole TeXLive distribution into hard drive
- configure TeXLive installation
we should also show explanations if they move mouse pointer to each button.
Let me explain:

The first option is to launch the portable-tl.bat script. Some users
here don't even know this awesome script in the dvd. Some browsed the
dvd folder, but didn't know what it do.

The second option is to setup the local system environment (perhaps
still using the portable script), and then directly launch certain
program like TeXWorks [can it be integrated into TeXLive in 2009?]. I
think this is quite important: many Windows and Mac users don't know
what a terminal or a command window is, and they have no idea how to
use command line. I think a good integrated editing software should
included in the distribution to make the newbies happy about the
product. If they don't know what zipfile/commandline/TEXMF are, never
mind, just select "launch the editing environment", and they can start
typesetting their document out of the box. And this is not, however,
difficult for us to achieve that.

The third option is still for the newbies who want to install TL into
their harddrive. during the process, it should only ask one question
(where to install) instead of requiring more than ten path variables,
and we install a full scheme for them. new users don't know much about
all the different schemes/collections/paths/languages/etc. they just
want a TeX that work out of the box. They are usually afraid of
missing packages (perhaps they don't know how to search/install. some
of them even don't know what package is). So we should install
everything for them. After installation, we can leave a TeXWorks icon
in the start menu or the desktop, so they will know where to start.
(Many user don't know what a terminal is).

The last option is to invoke the tlmgr.

A software program can be called good if it is robust, and can be
called awesome only when it is mature and user friendly. I think it is
possible for the new users to use and install TL without reading the
manuals, so why don't we implement those features?

Yue Wang

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