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David Carlisle <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 10 Nov 1998 12:28:13 GMT
text/plain (53 lines)
>   Solution: Move the best-of-breed third-party packages into the
>   LaTeX core distribution.

In principle promoting an extended `core' distribution would be a good
thing. The main problem is _how_ to go about doing it.

There is one overriding constraint.

  Any mechanism which introduces extra packages into a central latex
  `minimal distribution' must _not_ generate any extra work at the latex
  support addresses (latex-l and latex-bugs).

Given the number of people currently active supporting latex, any extra
support work is likely to have the effect that we can not cope and all
support stops. However we would be prepared to put in time to help set
up any mechanisms needed.

So we can not simply just pick some (one? two? fifty?) packages from
ctan/latex/contrib and stick them in ctan/latex/packages/tools and carry
on as before.

There are one or two clear contenders for generally useful packages.
natbib, cite, hyperref, .. however if anyone really tries to fill in the
dots and make an explicit list, then value judgements will sometimes
have to be made between essentially similar packages. This is something
that ctan explicitly does _not_ do. Anything that involves making
judgements involves being prepared to explain choices, and to review
them later as packages develop (or packages previously chosen stop being


an enlarged base latex distribution would require

* an agreed mechanism for creating and maintaining such a distribution.

* volunteers to actually do the work. (Beware: latex support takes more
  time than you think: I once thought it would only take up one weekend
  and a free trip to Hamburg).

* Some method of interfacing to the latex3 project. Even if such an
  extended list was maintained by volunteers outside the project, the
  latex3 project as a body is ultimately responsible for latex, and
  would want to retain the right to have the final word about how or if
  such an extended list should be produced.

* agreement from the tex distributors that they would actually ship such
  an extended set. (Probably this is not so much of a problem now
  distributions have generally moved to CD from floppy disk, but
  I am sure most would not want to ship the whole of latex/contrib)