Happy New Year. May you and those around you be safe and happy.
When a year ago I started the weekly TeX Hour video meetings, I had ideas
as to what would happen. I'm pleased to say that I paid some attention to
what was going on around me, and that I was able to let go of many of my
previous ideas. Experience, someone said, is knowledge you get just after
you needed it!
Therefore, please don't give my predictions for 2022 priority over your
wishes and opinions. And share with me and others if you wish. We'll all
benefit from that. At least for a while, we'll continue to meet at 6:30pm
UK time on Zoom. All are welcome. Here's the details.
Meetings are Thursday 6:30 to 7:30pm UK(=GMT) time. UK time now:
The URL is:
Last year, I introduced a monthly cycle of B, A, C, D, E. These letters
1st Thursday: Beginners
2nd Thursday: Accessibility
3rd Thursday: Conversions (and new for 2022 - Community)
4th Thursday: Durable Documents
5th Thursday: Experiments and Exploration
The New Year is a time for review and taking stock. And for new beginnings.
I hope this month to discuss the B, A, C, D, E topics starting from
scratch. In other words, in a way that helps us see what is habit, what is
new, what is essential and what is custom. Although our planet has returned
to its starting point for its annual orbit of our sun, much has changed for
the human (and other) beings living on the surface of our planet since last
we were here.
The appendix contains a New Year's message I sent to the members of UK TUG
just after Christmas. The context is that 2 months ago the Committee
persuaded the members of UK TUG to vote in favor of dissolving UK TUG. I've
been a member for about 30 years, and this is a sad event.
Happy TeXing and wishing you a safe and happy 2022.
APPENDIX: Community + James Webb Space Telescope + Desmond Tutu
Two international events last week have increased my optimism regarding the
support and promotion of TeX. They also shine some light on the way
forward. The first is the successful launch into orbit of the James Webb
Space Telescope,. The second is the widespread recognition and appreciation
of the public service made by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The Webb Telescope shows that what Newton set into motion over 300 years
ago with his Principia Mathematica still has internal vigor, and public
recognition and funding. It is also a triumph for international cooperation
for a common human purpose and need, to understand what there is and what
is possible. About 50 years ago similar forces created the environment in
which Don Knuth's creation of TeX was possible.
Desmond Tutu used his position and skills to help bring down racist,
undemocratic and inhuman apartheid in South Africa. His route was
non-violent opposition, as pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for
Indian Independence and Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement in
the USA. His relation to TeX requires some explanation.
In the 1990s Tutu was chair of the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, which did much to bring about peaceful reconciliation and
restorative (instead of punitive) justice to South Africa. The Commission
helped transform South Africa into a "rainbow nation". Tutu's work relied
on an African world view that there is a universal bond of sharing that
connects all humanity, or more concisely that "I am because we are". It is
humanity to others.
In many of the Bantu languages, this world view is called "ubuntu". It has
a close match to the ideals of sharing, community and collaboration that
are central to open source software. Also in the 1990s Mark Shuttleworth in
South Africa developed both open source and proprietary software. In the
2000s he used proceeds from the latter to fund development of a Linux
distribution that was, at his request, called Ubuntu. Nelson Mandela
defined "ubuntu" on video as part of the launch of Ubuntu Linux.
Conditions exist for science and humanity to develop and grow in 2022. And
this includes the continuation of Don Knuth's work in Digital Typography.
Brief History of the Ubuntu Project: