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

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Jan 13 15:23:44 CET 2009

On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 9:12 AM, Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> wrote:

> Dear Yue,
> thanks for your suggestions, they are much appreciated.
> I think most of your suggestions make perfect sense but ...

I agree.

> [...]
>> 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?
> Time constraints? I have programmed all the GUI stuff myself without any
> prior knowledge of Perl/Tk (only perl, and Tcl/Tk). And I am full time
> mathematician and part time mountain guide, soooo there are many things
> one *could* do, but the volunteers are lacking.

Lots of people with both programming skills and enougth maths to
appreciate the value of TeX are being put out of their jobs.
Not all who loose their jobs are without financial resources, but I think
they tend to think of working with charities and relief organizations. It is
important to make the point that TeX is a key resource for many
technical/scientific projects affecting understanding of climate
change and green technology.   I'm not sure how to reach this
talent pool -- in N. America an article in the WSJ would work.

One thing at a time -- tlmgr is still young and there are some tricky issues,
such as recovering from network problems.  A more "user-friendly"
front end may only result in more confusion for users who just want
TeX with minimal effort but don't have the luxury of a local reliable
CTAN mirror.

Some of the things that currently cause difficulties for TL users are
not going to be resolved by high-level changes to the user interface:

*  choosing a CTAN mirror -- from Nova Scotia one has to choose the
mirror site and  times carefully -- downloads from N. American mirrors
during working hours often fail and the system does not support downloading
from multiple mirror sites.  The current mirror site chooser tends to give
a mirror from the same broad geographical region, but I find things
often work better if I use a mirror whose local time is outside working

*  packages being removed due to license issues -- users are thrown
back onto manual installs of the packages (or they switch to MiKTeX).

* interactions with local configuration tweaks -- how to ensure that
changing settings (e.g.,  default paper size) don't result in loss of
some manual edits to a configuration.

* conflicts with other TeX and friends installs that have not been
completely removed (lingering environment settings).

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

More information about the tex-live mailing list