LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for LATEX-L Archives


LATEX-L Archives

LATEX-L Archives


LATEX-L@LISTSERV.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

LATEX-L Home

LATEX-L Home

LATEX-L  November 1998

LATEX-L November 1998

Subject:

Re: What is "base" LaTeX

From:

Phillip Helbig <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 11 Nov 1998 09:07:43 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (153 lines)

Frank wrote:

> i think that we have several problems here which to some extend
> pulling the ship into different directions; i think we first need to
> dis-tangle some of this a bit before it really makes sense to talk
> models (or even approaches)

I won't quote most of his post but I agree wholeheartedly with his
assessment.

> - one of the major driving forces of latex is not necessarily the
>   quality of its output but the exchangeability and portability of its
>   input while maintaining a reasonable quality output and (with the
>   necessary skill/knowledge (luck?)) being able to produce without too
>   much fuss really high quality output from a nearly unchanged source

YES!

> - i claim that we more or less actually achieved this, it is again

Yes, and praise where praise is due!  Good job!

> - and neither has be front matter stuff been addressed unfortunately

Well, we're getting to that.

> for this block of the core we provide very strict consistency checks
> and documents that used this stuff two years ago will run now and will
> do so in with the december release (will produce identical output) ---

I think this is essential.

> this stability is extremely important in the latex community, even
> upward compatible changes are considered bad by the majority of the

> in my opinion the "core" whatever this is at a certain point in time
> can only be maintained by a cathedral solution, and staying with the
> picture, without much better arguments as those brought forward so
> far, i wouldn't give my blessing to anything else.

Agreed.

> second, the linux example is a red herring. its development and
> implementation model works because it doesn't effect peoples use of
> the system as it is the single system that is effected if you upgrade
> your linux (but your ip protocol stays the same it is still tcpic if
> not the linux model would die too); with latex the situation is that
> the "system" is not the single latex installation but the combination
> of all those latex systems out there that you like to communicate
> with.

I agree.  The model isn't applicable everywhere.

> i do see some good reasons for extending the "core" distribution but
> it would require new maintenance and support models and it would need
> somewhat conservative people that understand why it can be dangerous
> to fix the spacing in article.cls (even though we all know that
> design-wise it is mostly rubbish)

Yes.  It's good to mention that conservative people are needed!

> - stability within the distribution, ie all packages would need to
>   work with each other in any legal combination

Yes.  This is a problem with some of the contrib stuff---not all
combinations work together OK, sometimes the order in which they are
loaded is important etc.

> - clearly defined and supported maintenance cycles such as the core
>   LaTeX nowadays has (they may be longer, eg a year, but one should
>   not go back to the old days of 2.09 maintenance which was applied
>   whenever it was raining in California)

Perhaps less effort could be put into rapid updates (twice a year) and
use the save labour to implement some of the improvements we've been
talking about---isn't once a year enough?

A problem I have with updating LaTeX is deciding whether to make the
(substantial, if one includes non-core stuff) effort of updating
EVERYTHING (installing from scratch is easy enough, even trivial, at
least on VMS with Ralf G"artner's distribution, but I want to keep
customisations) OR finding the 1% or whatever which has actually changed
and replacing that, which all told is about the same amount of work.

There is also the issue of updates which can be made simply by replacing
files and those which require a rebuild in some sense.

Again, updating the core stuff automatically is easy enough, but we want
more.

Perhaps one could move to the following update model.

Once a year there is a new version, as there is now twice a year.

Whenever bugs are fixed which can be fixed simply by replacing files,
these are announced.  There can be a patch web page, a mailing list,
whatever.  Users can decide whether they need to download the new file
(or edit their current one by hand, perhaps, if it's a trivial change)
or wait until they next do a `real' upgrade, which will of course
include all of these fix-by-replacing-this-file changes.  When the
`real' upgrade arrives, it will also indicate to what extent it

   o  is just a set of replacement files

   o  includes some new files

   o  requires a rebuild

If no rebuild is required, people who like a rapid update could have it
even more rapidly than at present.  Once a year, one could still do
everything in one go, which is probably often enough for those who
prefer everything in one go anyway.

Perhaps some folks will note a similarity to the VMS update model: there
are OS upgrades periodically, but patches are announced when they are
available.  There is a patch mailing list and they can be downloaded via
the net.  Each maintainer can decide if the patch is important enough to
be installed now etc.  Periodically there are maintenance releases (like
7.1-2 which is coming in January or so) which are essentially
collections of all patches since the last release (but also perhaps
provide minor changes like additional hardware support) while major OS
upgrades (like 7.2 next spring) are less frequent, introduce new
features and require a `rebuild' in some sense.

This seems to work well.  I guess there are about the same number of VMS
users as LaTeX users(?) and about the same mixture of folks who are
doing essentially the same stuff they were ten years ago and are
interested in keeping it going without change under the new version and
innovators who make use of many new features when they come out.

As a user and lover of VMS and LaTeX, I notice that I feel more
comfortable with keeping my OS upgraded as than I do keeping [TEXMF...]
upgraded, although of course the former is actually much more complex
(especially when one includes layered products like compilers etc and
considers the interaction between various bits).  Of course, VMS is
designed quite differently than, for example, the unix `bag of tools'
philosophy.  I guess I want less a bag of tools, a bazaar, and more
something like the cathedral, which seems to work well with VMS.  Since
LaTeX is essentially quite restricted in its aims, I think it's worth
going for a cathedral model and bringing as much stuff as possible under
its roof.

Comments?


--
Phillip Helbig                          Email ......... [log in to unmask]
Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratories   Tel. .... +44 1477 571 321 (ext. 297)
Jodrell Bank                            Fax ................ +44 1477 571 618
Macclesfield                            Telex ................ 36149 JODREL G
UK-Cheshire SK11 9DL                    Web ... http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~pjh/

My opinions are not necessarily those of NRAL or the University of Manchester.

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

September 2019
July 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
July 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
September 2007
August 2007
June 2007
May 2007
March 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
November 2004
October 2004
August 2004
July 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
October 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
March 2002
December 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.UNI-HEIDELBERG.DE

Universität Heidelberg | Impressum | Datenschutzerklärung

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager