[tex-live] texdoc perl

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Dec 10 23:43:55 CET 2013

On 2013-12-10 at 08:53:30 -0500, bnb at ams.org wrote:

 > as much as i hate to do it, i need to bring
 > this up again.
 >     [...]
 >     You might say, if there is no simple match, just say "not found", but
 >     that would make texdoc *much* *much* less useful, because now you
 >     can search with very unspecified terms and texdoc tries to find something
 >     matching.
 > i must first mention that this is with tex
 > live 2012 (we haven't yet installed the 2013
 > distribution in an easily accessible place).
 > i just tried that with a really tex-related
 > name that i knew did not exist, and got this:
 >   bnb at tdev:~> texdoc amstheorem
 >   Sorry, no documentation found for amstheorem.
 >   If you are unsure about the name, try searching CTAN's TeX catalogue at
 >   http://ctan.org/search.html#byDescription.
 >   bnb at tdev:~> 
 > that's nice and helpful.

Yes, this happens because there is no match for "amstheorem", neither
in a file- nor in a directory name.  texdoc can't proceed and points
you to CTAN.

But assume that the documentation of package "foo" is called
"manual.pdf".  In this case people expect that texdoc finds the PDF
file.  texdoc's approach is based on heuristics, aliases, and to some
extent on the TeX Catalogue.

If there is no direct match, the directory name is taken into account.
It's obvious that this can lead to unexpected results.

Names like "manual.pdf" are quite common.  The reason is that files
called <package>.pdf are usually created from .dtx files.  If a
package author decides to provide separate files for the commented
source code as well as the user manual, it's clear that the latter
can't be called <package>.pdf.

A perfect solution can only be based on aliases and/or the TeX
Catalogue.  I have no idea how much effort is needed in order to
avoid the heuristics but I fear that without a few additional
volunteers it's unfeasible.

For the time being we have to live with the shortcomings.  The problem
is not that the concept is wrong but the lack of volunteers.


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

More information about the tex-live mailing list