[texhax] complaints

Uwe Lueck uwe.lueck at web.de
Sat Dec 28 00:07:56 CET 2013

Aaron Corbet,

>   Generally, I'm quite impressed with your 2013 edition,

What is my 2013 edition?

> and as I am in the final stages of writing a journal article, I'm getting 
> very thorough use of your software.

More seriously, some posters have not been aware of what kind
of beings read the postings and what kind of "product" TeX 
software is.

Many of people who read and answer are just TeX users like you; 
however, they have used it for many years and also know about 
the social aspects (while you seem to have dealt with TeX in 
recent weeks for the first time after 20 years). Many contribute 
to the "software", but rather independently of each other. 
This is a "community" of users and contributors to "free" 
software who like to share their "products" and knowledge.

>   I don't like the book by Voss. I did like the earlier books by Knuth,
> and Lamport. Is there something along their lines for your updated
> software?

After Lamport, the next step is The LaTeX Companion, cf.



The book tells you what the LaTeX Project Team has added to 
Lamport's LaTeX and also about the most commmon packages 
that have been contributed by third-party authors.

However, that book already is somewhat old, and every year 
new interesting, useful contributions appear. For special 
purposes you may need to search CTAN "manually", maybe via 


The ultimate description of each third-party package is its 
individual documentation written by its author(s), to be 
downloaded from CTAN. There are also more up-to-date books 
about special aspects of LaTeX such as Voss' (German) bookS.

Before reading *books*, however, has the tiny document 


been among the "instructions" you have read?

Another alternative to a book where I have found help quickly 
is the LaTeX Wikibook:


>   Most annoying at present, is that I cannot finish compiling anything
> without getting the notice that there is a "required file" which cannot be
> found:
> tex\context\base\supp-pdf.mkii
>  which puportedly resides in some folder named mptopdf. Fine. So I go find
> this thing, --- there's a 154kB version, and a 5.19kB version, both in
> CTAN. I send these  to "documents" in my C drive. But when I try to
> "install" any of this, either from your disc itself, or my documents, I am
> told variously MikTex CD/DVI "not found", or that my address is "*not a
> local package depository*". So what kind of a catch-22 have you whopped up
> here? I'm getting very tired of this notice popping up.

To me, this indicates that you are using a MiKTeX installation. 
MiKTeX is a system of making most of the single TeX software 
contributions available to single TeX users. The main reference 
for this is


MiKTeX is very useful with a running internet connection. 
Then what is discovered missing is installed on your computer 
automagically. Or at least you can install packages via a GUI, 
without going to CTAN "manually" (without reasoning about a 
good directory on your computer to which to download ...), 
and you can easily install those updates that are uploaded each 
year, month, week.

Apart from at most one person reading your posting, nobody is 
responsible for MiKTeX or can do anything about it. However, 
there is another community of MiKTeX users with their own 
mailing list, similar to the texhax mailing list.

Slightly more readers of the list are responsible for the 
TeX Live alternative to MiKTeX and can do something about it:


>   Similarly annoying, there are three places in my manscript where I sould
> like to box off, with a border, pieces of texct/equations. They are
> especially important. I've read all of your informative instructions about
> what commands to use in order to do this.

Various instructions have been written by various authors 
(about boxing), and we don't know which ones you have read.
Please list *all of my informative instructions about what 
commands to use ...* explicitly!

More seriously, there are many third-author packages for 
*framed boxes*. Some of the packages listed on 


may help you. Unfortunately, (i) many of them may be irrelevant 
for your purpose, (ii) for choosing, I am not aware of a better 
way than following all the links that seem interesting and then 
browsing the indidual documentation files, (iii) the "topic" 
is not "complete" in my view, as the "niceframe", "shadethm", 
and "umrand" packages are missing. Actually, the brief descriptions 
of "tcolorbox", "shadethm", and "fancybox" match your sketch best, 
according to some feeling of mine. I found "shadethm" at


>   The third problem is in placement of graphics, 
> about which the software seems very rigid.

*Placement* of graphics may be just the problem of placing 
*figures*, cf.



    Uwe Lück.

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