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Robin Fairbairns <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 19 Sep 2008 10:36:08 +0100
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Joseph Wright <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Karl Berry wrote:
> >     Distributions are encouraged to include these depreciated versions but
> >     *outside* of the usual texmf location, for example:
> >     <texmf>/archive/latex3/<package>/<version>
> > 
> > Sorry, I don't like it.  TL is not an archive.  One could make (and
> > people have made) the same argument about every package and every
> > program.  We don't do it for L2e ...
> Okay, but how about the CTAN part of the idea?  I'm trying to think of
> how to balance ease of use with availability of older versions.  I think
> that this was not possible when LaTeX2e was first released, nor was it
> obvious it would be required.

actually, except in cases where the original has proved buggy (or the
like), most of the latex 2.09 stuff is still around.  (and there was a
"big day" when the link macros/latex was switched from latex209 to

so yes, the switchover _was_ thought about (carefully), and reasonable
action taken.

> I'd imagine that the more extended LaTeX3
> would need less packages (but I'm prepared to be wrong), but still it is
> at least worth thinking about.

there are two issues which need to be untangled.

first, we can't (as at the 2.09->2e switchover) "just use" unconverted

second, there were myriads of 2.09 packages designed to sort out
problems with latex as it stood.  an example is the many different ways
you could configure fonts -- at my work in the 80s, i had built
different latex formats to use different document fonts.

so back then we expected there to be far fewer 2e packages, but the
freedom 2e has given us (that, with the safe assumption that a "big"tex
can always be used) has led to massive extension of usable function from
packages (though there may not actually be all that many more -- i've
not counted).

(also, cpus are faster.  i remember being excited that we were about to
get a 1 mips machine, which sounds ridiculous now.  no-one would dream
of something like siunitx, back then!)

i would not be surprised to find that (after a period of hiatus) the set
of packages (converted and otherwise) started to grow again,

so what would be a sensible way forward?  personally, for some time, i
would leave distribution as it is.  it's already better than what we had
when 2e came out: there are bits of latex 3 there for people to play
with.  back then, nothing appeared until the prerelease for christmas
1993: this was good, because people like me could start using it
immediately (though not for my management work, since \pounds was broken
in that release ;-).  but it was bad, because no-one had direct
experience of any part of the system until the whole thing appeared.

so, personally, i would like to see deprecated stuff doing no more than
move to ctan:obsolete/ (and possibly being superseded there as the newer
version passes its sell-by date).

in other words, no change.

and of course i am thoroughly in agreement with karl's position.


(note, i'm suddenly feeling well enough that i've started actually
looking at what all you eager beavers have been doing while i've been
struggling to make my poor sick brain work at all...)