[texhax] TeX Live documentation

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Sun Mar 3 22:04:27 CET 2013

Before (on texhax), on "missing" TeX Live Documentation, I focussed 
on binaries. I did not mention another point, because it is not so 
clear with the distinction between "using" and "installing" TeX Live, 
and because I had to recall something. That was last year, 
integrating a second texmf tree for material outside CTAN. 
It was for a server, so it was essentially an administrator's issue.

I think I have found the solution today. The TeX Live manual may 
need no improvement here, but it was hard for me, perhaps just 
personally because in the beginning (last year), I did not start 
with the TeX Live documentation, but with the texhash help and 
the TDS specification. So I just spent much time with documentation 
that was not very relevant for my problem.

A general subject with perhaps-incompleteness of documentation 
may be that (especially with complex software) that manuals 
sometimes seem to be little helpful for "impatient" users.
An alternative may be "user-driven documentation" -- an FAQ; 
so structured that the most frequent or urgent questions are 
the most easy to find.

There actually is such an FAQ for TeX Live:


for example "I want to use ConTeXt". Until one has something 
better, one might point there.

That approach may also be helpful if, as Karl tells me off-list, 
TeX Life offers so much that is just too much for the maintainers 
to document it completely. As to binaries (that I focussed on 
before), this even seems to hold for engines and formats -- 
when I compare the TeX Live manual with Arno Trautmann's 
list of binaries.

The user's separate tree may be something very important, 
thinking of the user's favourite shorthands used for most 



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