TeX Hour: Thu 12 May: 6:30pm UK time: Access and Accessibility (part 1)

Jonathan Fine jfine2358 at gmail.com
Wed May 11 18:30:18 CEST 2022


First a word about this year's TeX Conference (online 22-24 July, and
free). There's renewed interest in the TeX/LaTeX community in
accessibility, with 6 important talks on it last year (including my own).
This year I'll be talking about "Access and Accessibility". It's based on a
comment by Jonathan Godfrey (a blind lecturer in statistics), that sighted
people not having easy access to tools that generate accessible content is
a major obstacle.

Today's TeX Hour is about Access to TeX and related tools. In particular,
it's about allowing a working environment on one machine to be accurately
(even exactly) reproduced on another machine. The focus tomorrow is on
fonts and TeX macros, but the methods apply much more widely.

Here's the link for tomorrow's TeX Hour: Thursday 12 April, 6:30 to 7:30pm
UK time.
Zoom URL:
Note: Both the UK and USA are on Summer Time. UK Time Now:

Back to tools for accurately reproducing an environment. I hope in time
these methods will help visually impaired users share their software
situation and configuration with others. In particular, an easy method of
creating a truly reproducible problem, fault and bug reports. And
reproducible solutions.

If you're interested in this, or would like to contribute to the TeX
Conference please do get in touch. By the way, one of the keynote speakers
is an expert in
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin_Information_Typing_Architecture, which
is widely used for technical documention.

Now for the technical stuff about tomorrow's TeX Hour. After a long battle
between my stubborness and my stupidity, I've made a sideways move that
greatly takes me forward. Briefly, I've created a folder
/git-alt-obj/texlive on my PC that contains all the non-binary files in the
TeX Live installations from 2010 to 2022. At present it occupies 33G, but
once duplicates are removed I expect it will be less than 8G.

Because it uses git pack files subsets and minor variations in the content
will be inexpensive. In git, branches are cheap, because only the
differences are recorded. Proceeding in this way for TeX/LaTeX, Python,
Pandoc and other tools it will I hope be rather easier to create and share
software environments for creating accessible documents, and to report and
reproduce problems when they arise.

Here's the tool I wrote and used to turn a folder into a git pack file

And here's a description of how I use it's output. I'll talk about that,
and how to remove duplicates and how to subset and distribute the nearly
approximately 1,850,000 files in /git-alt-obj/texlive/pack.

wishing you happy, safe and reproducible TeXing


PS. Do get in touch with me if you're interested in this year's TeX
conference, as participant or even as a contributor. Perhaps we could have
an accessibility panel. I'd like that.
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