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Sebastian Rahtz writes:

 > Mark Steinberger writes:
 >
 >  > Clear criteria for classification might be useful, here.
 >
 > well, thats the nub of the problem, isn't it. there is an alternative,
 > which is to categorize by type, eg
 >
 >  - useful general hacks
 >  - class files for publishers and journals
 >  - letters
 >  - font related
 >
 > but i personally don't find that helpful - we still need some way of
 > deciding which ones to tell eg Thomas Esser or Eberhard Mattes to
 > distribute to everyone.

i think this goes a bit out of hand and in different directions:
originally the suggestion was to collect class files that are around,
now we are talking about classifying the whole LaTeX universe.

not that this isn't a valid excerise as well but it is a different one.

collecting class files means not only looking at CTAN but actively
asking publishers (somehow) to give their class files out if they have
any. many publishers do have class files that they send to people on
request.

sebastian is talking about classifying all the stuff that is already
out there so that there so that we do reach something like a canonical
distribution. again a very important and worth while effort (although
i don't particularily like the sebastian's way of classification into
very useful or only useful to a limited set of people)

the problem with that approach is that it is good quality packages for
(potential) minorities will probably never make it into 2 and i think
several of those should become standard. therefore i disagree with

 > i suggest that going beyond my 3 - way is too hard. so

i think we actually need 5, i.e.

 >  * we don't have any choice about 1; its what They give us

true :-)

    * 5 does definitely not work with current LaTeX (after checking)

    * by default everything goes to 4 (which mean uncheck, might not
      work with current LaTeX)

    * it goes into 3 if somebody has made a minimal check against
      running it with current LaTeX and having success. This should be
      an active process, eg one way as i see this could happen is a
      couple of volunteers with a coordinator is taking the current
      ctan dirs in chunks and check the packages/class styles, write
      one para for each that seems to work and sends this finding to
      the coordinator.

    * things go into 2 by acclamation but i would like to see 2 being
      separated out into
        2-general       stuff that is usable in various fields
                        and applications, or is expected to be used
                        a lot.
        2-applications

      with the suggestion that 2-general should be always included
      into a distribution but 2-applications as well if there is a bit
      of space left.

As for

> 4.   The LaTeX Team think this is a useful activity and have carefully
>  checked the results; consequently they are looking for a less bias
>  coordinator

and similar lines i think (putting my LaTeX team ... hat on) i think
the answer has to be something like

 The LaTeX Team think this is a useful activity and waiting with
 interest for the outcome of this excerise.  we don't have the manpower
 to actually contribute actively to it at least not initially.

By the way, if such a volunteer group would come together this would
be an except thing to have, not only for classifying what is currently
out there but also for classifying new contributions to the CTAN
world. it could form quite a good way of selfcontrol in the community
especially if a good way can be found to move things from 3->2 (or
back)

so i would be really glad if some people would give themselve a push
(and not just way for the couple of people running ctan and
maintaining latex ...) and just contribute in some form to either task

frank


ps in fact i could contribute to the classification, somewhere on my
laptop i should have some file that contains a classification for a
medium amount of packages on ctan and although it is already a bit old
it could help i think.