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Frank Mittelbach <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 4 Jul 1997 12:30:39 +0200
text/plain (162 lines)
Sebastian Rahtz writes:
 > Are you all familar with Graham Williams catalogue? in many ways, he

no unfortunately not yet, but it looks very much as what we are
looking for

 > has already laid the foundation for what we are talking about, with a
 > BiBTeX database looking like this:
 > @TeXIndex{akletter,
 >   texlive       = {latex3},
 >   ctan          = {macros/latex/contrib/supported/akletter/},
 >   abstract      = {An advanced letter document class which extends \LaTeX{}'s
 >                   usual letter class. Provides support for building your own
 >                   letterhead; can mark fold points for window envelopes; and
 >                   more. Documentation in German, but sample file is
 >                   sufficient for a basic understanding.},
 >   author        = {Axel Kielhorn},
 >   email         = [log in to unmask],
 >   modified      = {26 Mar 1997 09:55:33 [log in to unmask]
 > }

that would be a very useful thing to have

 > the `texlive' key (renamed) can be used for what we seem to agree is the useful
 > scheme:

may i suggest not to use "latex3" that will confuse people a lot if
they come across such an entry without the background --- and thus
also not latex1 etc. not sure what would be best.

 >    latex1:  a core tool provided by Them (eg graphics); distributions
 >       without all of these are incomplete
 >    latex2:  a generally agreed important tool package (eg calc)
 >    latex3:  a generally agreed important application package (eg tipa)
 >    latex4:  a package that works under the current LaTeX, has no known
 >              bad behaviour, but is not a `must have' (eg nassflow)
 >    latex5:  a package of unknown status, may or may not work, perhaps
 >              whose author is not contactable any more
 > I use 2 and 3 instead of 2a and 2b, because I think we *do* mean that
 > distributors should treat this as a priority list when packaging up. the
 > goal would be to persuade people to take *all* of 2 and 3, or just all
 > of 2, and not make their own arbitrary decisions.

that's fine with me although i would prefer to keep it 2a and 2b
because my view is that distributions should try to keep also 2b. but
fair enough.

but i would still want my "does not work with current latex class"
which would be 6 in your classification. otherwise either those
packages stay unlassified (meaning that they stick around forever
wasting space and adding to the confusion or else end up in latex5
which is even worse in my eyes.

see if there is a package for doing X but it doesn't fully work any
more it might still helpful for somebody who needs X badly so unless
it is comepletely hopeless it should probably stay on CTAN (and in the
master catalogue) but i don't think it should stay in *5

 > Entry to 5 is the default; entry to 4 is (in my book) when it can pass
 > a trivial CTAN to TDS test, ie it processes itself and its
 > documentation, and fits into the TDS tree. That does not require any
 > decisions, just a volunteer testing it, and reporting to the
 > coordinator.

that's what i called testing. and perferably the reporting should
include something like the above bibtex entry (or an update of it if
one exists already)

 > Entry to 2 or 3 is by acclamation and discussion. Inevitably, that
 > means Yet Another Mailing List, I think. Sigh. But not
 > impossible. That group *must* be strict - we want to keep the number
 > of packages in 2 and 3 relatively small. The `best of class' rule must
 > apply - if there is already a float-extension package there, a new one
 > will not be admitted unless the old one is thrown out.

hmm, that does probably need some discussion of its own as i don't
think that for most stuff "best" is really a criteria. take again my
chemistry example. xymtex should be in 3 (imho) or 2b as i would
prefer but so should phchtex by Hans as both use a completely
different approach to the subject.

 > I fear that the `nyj', `kluwer' and `elsevier' classes must
 > remain in 3, as they cannot be called `must have' or `best of class',
 > and so they will not end up in the main distributions.....

and that is exactly why i'm against 2/3 but for 2a 2b as well behaving
package should preferably be in the main distribution.

after all we are not talking about that much space and anyway space is
becoming cheaper and other programs tools also come these days with a
bigger set.

 > Then a new key can be added, `class', to select from the following
 > list:
 >  - extensions to normal facilities (tables, floats, cites etc) (eg mdwtab)
 >  - class files for publishers and journals (eg kluwer)
 >  - class files for theses, resumes etc (eg suthesis)
 >  - letters (eg akletter)
 >  - font related (eg tipa)
 >  - language related (eg french)
 >  - graphics (eg xypic)
 >  - packages for special applications: Chemistry, Computer Science,
 >    Mathematics, Physics etc. (eg xymtex)
 >  - hypertext-related (eg hyperref)
 >  - tools (eg calc)

that's fine except that i think the key should allow for multiple
entries, eg tipa is font related but also a special application
(namely phonetic alphabet support)

 > and possibly that `compatibility' key (including, `does it have
 > \special restrictions')

good point, but why not call that restrictions=

 > SO, where does that leave us in actions?
 >  1. I suggest Graham Williams be asked to act as repository of
 >     information in his catalogue, if he agrees to have 2 keys supplied
 >     by other people


 >  2. We need one or more coordinators to enter new packages in at
 >      level 5 and then 4

and definitely old!! and level 6!

 >  3. We need a forum to allow entry to 2 and 3

yes, in some way, see above

 >  4. We need to publicize the scheme and ask packagers to adopt it.
 >     Frank et al can help with moral pressure (in my book the key is
 >     that `put in all of 2 or none of 2'

in my book it would be put in *always* 2a and preferably 2b

 > I am happy to volunteer as a coordinator, and I can reasonably promise
 > (since I am still Secretary) the services of the TUG computer for
 > mailing list, Web site and repository.

good. number two

 > NOTE that I am not proposing a full CTAN classification! Just those
 > things which are plainly `LaTeX contributions'

that is a good start, i would agree. still it doesn't hurt to make
provisions for the non-latex stuff as well, since if a tester test
package X and finds that it does work with plain (only or not) that is
information gained so why lose it?

 > Comments?

sounds positive if we get it off the ground