[OS X TeX] Re: Save date-time, not Print date

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Sun Jan 7 17:16:34 CET 2007

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On 7-jan-2007, at 16:45, Douglas Philips wrote:

> Not to pick on Maarten or anyone else who has posted suggestions on
> how to "work around" to get this to work, but all of those things
> are work-arounds...
>
> I desperately, desperately hope this is something that has been

I don't know for certain, but I'm quite confident that it will be.

> Maybe I want to know the date that the document was typeset...
> \date works fine for that.
> Maybe I want to know the date of the .tex file that was typeset...
> <hack-a-rundums abound>.
>
> How is it that \date is integral to beautiful typesetting and
> \modificationTimeOfThisFile isn't?
> Oh. Right. Not related at all.

You're right, but (and I realize that this is hardly an excuse at
all) at the time TeX originated, many of the file system metadada
interfaces were not very well established. That it was added at
version 1.30 of pdftex is quite a bit later than the establishment of
those interfaces (that is an understatement). (I can't find the
suggestion made by Heiko, but I assume he uses some pdftex primitive).

> Many many aspects of TeX have everything to do with the state of
> computer hardware and software when TeX was written. Stuff that has
> nothing to do with beautiful typesetting, or with coherent document
> structure or writing.

Having access to the dates has nothing to do with typesetting, but is
relevant to both structure and writing. And has caused confusion in
the past, as is documented in the Google archive of comp.text.tex (I
can't recall which package it was, but there the last save date would
have removed a lot of confusion).

> None-the-less TeX is stuck in that past.
> (Repeat prayers for LuaTeX)...

Yup, I agree. Part of that is puritan behaviour of some TeX
developers and distribution maintainers, part of it is the license to
than it should have been. Yes, tex will move forward, and development
is progressing in two fronts: LuaTeX and XeTeX, in two different
ways. Interesting times are ahead, to say the least, with both aiming
for full unicode and opentype support, and LuaTeX giving an extra
system font libraries, so have what you want (all? eh, wait a minute).

Now, while I agree with you on the fact that these are all hacks, I
maintain that for serious writing of large and possibly important
document, a version control system is essential. That that is no
hack, but the choice to use it should be unrelated to the issue that

Maarten