[tex-live] Re: [tex-fonts] error in ec encoding

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Thu Aug 18 17:52:57 CEST 2005

The current mess over the file EC.enc, for which three different
versions exist in the CTAN tree in four locations (I show MD5
checksums and locations)

7a76ac2c099e4bfdef074daa90efc450  tex-archive/dviware/mdvi/data/EC.enc
9d2e055fe64054cfd60c3645915b1189  tex-archive/fonts/lucida/EC.enc
d09dada0f71f932458b47aabb8a3d076  tex-archive/fonts/utilities/ps2pk/ps2pk15/PSources/EC.enc
d09dada0f71f932458b47aabb8a3d076  tex-archive/fonts/utilities/vplutils/encodings/EC.enc

and yet another one in the TeXlive tree with different contents and

caf61a0c98f79110e8394fc4bb1d8aa9  texlive-2004-11/texmf-dist/fonts/enc/dvips/base/ec.enc

is simply bad archive management practice.

It is now more than 13 years since the platform-independent checksum
utility and standard file-header comment support for GNU emacs were
developed after a late-night brainstorming session by a large group of
us in Heidelberg, and then later implemented by Robert Solovay
(Berkeley) and me (Utah):



They should be used for ALL of the files in the TeXlive and CTAN
archives, so that such files carry author information, a version
number, a timestamp, a checksum, and other documentation in a standard
form, making it easy to figure out which version is current, who is
responsible for it, and for end users to verify whether the file has
been modified without a header update since it was released.

Header standardization makes it very easy to automate the generation
of software catalogs, something that is badly needed. Such catalogs
could be kept up to date by nightly cron jobs.

All of the bibliography archives at



carry such headers, as do all of the emacs files at the above
locations, and as do the AMS (La)TeX files.

Once the EC.enc mess is sorted out and the definitive version
identified, let's add a standard header to it, put it in a version
control system, and track the changes to it that way.

A 500GB SATA disk


now lists for US$437; we can easily have the resources to store
complete revision histories of every file in the TeXlive and CTAN

Please remember that one of the great strengths of TeX is its
stability over decades.  It is important at many sites to be able to
retypeset documents that were written years ago, and to do that, all
of the style files used by the documents must be available.  That is
why the revision control system either needs to be publicly
accessible, or else version-numbered packages of every collection of
files need to be available back to the day they were first released.

While single users with personally-owned machines may enjoy always
having the latest-and-greatest versions of every piece of software,
corporate and institutional realities require much more stability and

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe  -

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