[tex-live] ifxetex package missing from collection-xetex
Philip Taylor (Webmaster)
P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Tue Feb 6 13:58:42 CET 2007
George N. White III wrote:
> What users say they want is seldom a reliable guide for software developers.
Yes, I notice that Microsoft frequently adopt this philosophy.
> How many of the packages you use on WIn32 were cross compiled on
How would I know ?
> Was the documentation formatted with TeX?
No (for 99.9% of the packages).
> How TL works on *x may be of no immediate interest to you, but
> there are benefits to all TeX users from having a reliable, widely
> available, TeX system.
I have never sought to dispute that.
Because TeX is used for documentation by many
> projects, even people who don't use TeX themselves often rely on
> documents created by others or through some automated build system
> using TeX.
This is going /seriously/ off at a tangent ...
[long irrelevancy snipped]
> There is considerable tension between those who want TeX to be
> portable and those working on improvements who just want to get a new
> capability working on their platform and don't have resources to deal
> with platforms they don't use. It is a fact of life that there are
> significant difference between platforms and real effort is needed to
> make things work across a range of platforms. This effort is
> worthwhile because it helps keep a strong, unified TeX community where
> new ideas and improvements are widely shared, as opposed to a
> fragmented community where ideas and improvements never spread beyond
> the users of a particular platform, and where using TeX becomes an
> obstacle to switching platforms because your favorite macro package
> make heavy use of image formats and \special's specific to your
> current platform.
This is closer to the point at issue ...
> One FAQ is "I need TeX and <programing language du jour> -- what OS
> should I use?".
Are you serious ?
> In my view, it is important that TeXLive be a viable successor for
> tetex in linux distributions. Already there are small differences
> creeping in (as patches to fix bugs) to some linux distros
I assume this is hacker-speak for "distributions"
> while others languish. Over time, developers will find that documentation
> formats on some systems but not others (due to different bugs but also
> to differences in supported languages).
Once you leave behind the cosy, isolated, highly-protected world of
TeX /qua/ TeX, and move into the real world where the prefixes
"Pdf" and "e-" proliferate, you start to experience the real
world phenomenon of divergent evolution. But as Darwin made
clear over 100 years ago, this is no bad thing : "survival of
the fittest" is just as important in computer software as it
is in the evolution of species. And it is for this very reason
that I made my original point, which is that I do not see it
as being /essential/ that a TeX Live DVD contains /identical/
releases for every possible platform. If the developer for
platform $x$ are able to make a last-minute vital bug fix,
or to (for example) address the issue of forcing a first-time
install at the user's request even where there are traces of
an older installation, then I see no compelling reason why
those improvements should not make it onto the DVD, even if
they are platform-specific at that point in time. The probability
is very high that other platform developers will soon be able to
follow suit, and provided that there is a simple, clean,
mechanism for performing incremental upgrades from the network
rather than having to wait a year (or more) for the next TeX
Live release, then I see no reason at all to compel the DVD
compilers to work to the lowest common denominator.
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