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Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 1 Sep 2019 10:24:54 +0200
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Hi there,

anybody who wants to help with beta-testing upcoming LaTeX releases
is invited to do so now.

I'm glad to be able to say that is is now  a piece of cake and doesn't 
require any local installation, compiling formats, etc. any more. 
Instead, all you have to do is to call a different program name as 
explained below.

We therefore hope that sufficiently many people are willing to help us 
in testing in the wild and thus track down any remaining issues (if any) 
that haven't been caught already by our own internal regression testing.

Right now you can already test pre-release-2, which among a few other 
things contains better UTF-8 support for pdfTeX, e.g., you can now 
safely use UTF-8 characters in file names, labels, reference, citations etc.

More details on new features and bug fixes can be found in changes.txt 
and ltnews30.tex (but you have to find these files on your machine 
yourself at the moment and compile the .tex file --- some room for 
improvements no doubt).

Between now and the final fall release of LaTeX there will be at least 
one more pre-release (with the remaining features we planned for this 
release), I will announce that separately.

As the whole process is new, we appreciate feedback and also would like 
to learn if we get sufficient serious testers now that it is much easier 
than it has been in the past.


ps the dev format is available for all major engines:

   dvilualatex-dev	lualatex-dev	platex-dev	xelatex-dev
   latex-dev	  	pdflatex-dev	uplatex-dev

------ from the recent post at

LaTeX development formats are now available

We know that many of you, especially developers and maintainers
of important packages, have a strong interest in a stable LaTeX

In order to keep LaTeX very stable for users whilst allowing for
further development to continue, we now have a development branch of
LaTeX on GitHub containing development code for the upcoming release.
When this code is ready for wider consumption and testing, we generate
a pre-release of LaTeX from this development branch and make it
available on CTAN.

For users of the TeXLive and MikTeX distributions it is therefore now
straightforward to test their documents and code against the upcoming
LaTeX release with ease, simply by selecting a different program name
(when using the command line) or by selecting a menu entry (after
setting it up, see below).

If you do this then the latest version of the LaTeX development
format will be used to process your document, allowing you
to test the upcoming release with your own documents and packages.
For example, if you run

   pdflatex-dev myfile

then you will be greeted on the screen with

   LaTeX2e <2019-10-01> pre-release-2

(identifying the pre-release format) instead of the normal

   LaTeX2e <2018-12-01>.

In this pre-release you will find the latest new features that we have
developed. Here is an example of upcoming features that are currently
only in the pre-release format: better UTF8-handling as described in
Taming UTF-8 in pdfTeX:

Note, that these are not `nightly builds' of the format reflecting the
very latest stage of development, but pre-release versions that we have
tested ourselves so that we consider them ready for testing by a
broader community, prior to their public release.

Our hopes

We don’t expect everybody to start using the development formats to
participate in testing, but we hope that people with a strong interest
in a stable LaTeX environment (especially developers and maintainers
of important packages) will use the new facilities and help us to
ensure that future public releases of LaTeX do not (as has happened in
the past) require some immediate patches because of issues that were
not identified by our internal regression test suite or by other
testing that we do.

Any issue identified when using the development format should preferably
be logged as an issue on GitHub, following the procedure outlined in including the use of the latexbug 
package as described.

Our bug reporting process normally states that issues involving
third-party software are out of scope as we can’t correct external
packages. However, in the particular case of the development
format showing an
incompatibility with a third-party package, it is fine to open an issue
with us (in addition, please, to informing the maintainer of that package)
so that we know about the problem and can jointly work on resolving it.

Details please ...

More details and some background information about the concepts and
the process is available in an upcoming TUGboat article: `The LaTeX 
release workflow and the LaTeX dev formats' also available from

Setting up menu items

While the command line call works out of the box if you have a recent
uptodate TeXLive or MikTeX installation, the use within an integrated
editing environment doesn’t at this point in time (maybe the
developers of these editors will include it in the future). However,
it is normally fairly simple to enable it as most (or even all?) of
them provide simple ways to call your own setup. How this works in
detail depends very much on the environment you use, so we can’t give
much help here. But as an example: to provide an additional menu entry
for XeLaTeX-dev all I had to do was to copy the file
XeLaTeX.engine to XeLaTeX-dev.engine and change the call from
xelatex to xelatex-dev inside.