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Are you all familar with Graham Williams catalogue? in many ways, he
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]
}


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

   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.

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.

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.

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.....

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)

and possibly that `compatibility' key (including, `does it have
\special 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
 3. We need a forum to allow entry to 2 and 3
 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'

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.

If this takes off, it fulfils one of my aims for TUG and UKTUG (at
least), which is to provide a more stable basis for the TeX Live CD
ROM distribution. It doesn't classify the whole CD, but it covers a
good portion of.

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

Comments?

Sebastian