> since my name has been taken in vain ...
'twasn't me what did it, honest.
> in pre-latex days, it was often possible to run
> the camera-ready copy of an issue as a unit. no more.
No doubt true if you say so, but is LaTeX the cause or is it more that
in those days you were not trying to typeset an article in cyrillic
followed by an article about 16bit Omega fonts followed by ..
> that little matter of incompatible packages is a real beast.
Yes for you especially in TUGBOAT I suspect that you are always going
to be hitting some real hard incompatibility, but as I said to
Sebastian earlier in this thread ``you don't count'':-)
More normal (if any of us TeX users are normal) usage are the kinds of
things outlined by Robin (for his collection of letters) or Bernard
(for a journal made up of similar (from the TeX point of view) articles).
In these cases you can usually (perhaps:-) arrange just to load all
packages used by any of the sub documents at the start of the `master'
document and then just input each sub document in turn (after suitably
disabling all the preamble commands).