[tex-live] paper size special

David Carlisle d.p.carlisle at gmail.com
Sun May 29 00:41:44 CEST 2016

On 28 May 2016 at 23:15, Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org> wrote:

>     except that all other drivers support it in an incompatible way..
> How unsurprising.


>     was dvisvgm but I didn't understand its size at all:
>     etex pagesize; dvisvgm pagesize
>     pre-processing DVI file (format 2)
>     processing page 1
>       page size: 217.359pt x 664.121pt (76.3929mm x 233.412mm)
> I believe dvisvgm trying to create an includable graphic rather than a
> full page, thus it's more or less the bounding box of the output?

I discounted that (due to the height), but of course I'd forgotten the page
number, so yes ignore
dvisvgm, it just doesn't use the special at all, which is OK, my error.

> Full
> pages are not what SVG files are for, after all.  The papersize special
> is not mentioned on the dvisvgm man page.  Could ask MartinG and/or look
> at the source if it matters.

No as I say that was my error.

>     So... I was wondering if dvi drivers that support special{papersize=
>     could agree on how to treat multiple instances?
> If the only thing we have to change is dvips, per your experiments, that
> is feasible, in principle.  It certainly seems more feasible than
> changing "everything else".  And also the behavior (last special on
> first page wins) seems better -- matches pdftex better.

yes but (despite raising the issue) I'm not at all sure changing dvips
after all this time
would have any good consequences.

>     Changing (say) dvips would of course affect the behaviour of any
>     document that has this set twice (eg has hyperref and geometry both
>     loaded) so it's not necessarily a good idea,
> Let's suppose, hypothetically, that we change dvips to match the others
> (with an option so people can get the old behavior if they want it, etc.).
> Would this imply you would then make further changes in latex?  If so,
> what?

I'm not sure:-) Partly I sent the message just to stir the pot and see if
anyone had
a brilliant idea.

> And, are any changes in this area desirable at all in latex2e?  I am
> skeptical.  Whatever the deficiencies and suboptimalities of the current
> situation (no argument that there are plenty), people have necessarily
> figured out how to get the page sizes they want with the software they
> want.  If we make any changes, I highly suspect existing workflows will
> break, and not in any obvious way.


> Or am I being too negative?  -k


I suspect that changing the drivers isn't going to work, even if you added
an option
to change the behaviour back it will just lead to confusion.

What I think I should probably try to do in latex is set up a system that
allows cooperating
packages to not add the special more than once, then the issue doesn't

there are various ways that could be done for example dvips/dvipdfm options
instead of adding the special directly as now which implies some rather odd
package ordering
behaviour, they could just set some defined \pagewidth and \pageheight
lengths (as for pdftex/luatex)
and then latex could insert a single special when shipping out the first
page based on those values at that time.

or something...

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