[texworks] TeXwork is Under-Resourced - Was: LaTeX log parser script
st.loeffler at gmail.com
Mon Mar 5 13:13:07 CET 2012
thanks, Paul, for finding such clear words. On some points, I definitely
agree, but others I feel I have to comment on and/or put into perspective.
1) TeXworks has always been and (as far as I can state that) will always
be free and open source software (for the record: currently licensed
under GPLv2+, source code available at http://code.google.com/p/texworks/)
2) TeXworks is (and always has been) a TUG project. The TUG has been
supportive (as far as necessary), and I see no reason to abandon them.
The project is, however, not tied into any other project too tightly,
i.e., it is fairly independent as far as, e.g., development decisions
go. Traditionally, there has been a fairly close collaboration with
TeXLive (e.g., in terms of release planning), but ultimately TeXworks is
an editor of its own right working with many TeX distros.
2) Jonathan Kew - the project owner - is indeed not currently
participating in the daily coding and may be considered "absent". He
has, however, expressed his wish to be kept in the loop for (and have a
say in) the "big decisions". So he has not abandoned the project, but
rather has retreated from the daily business. ATM, I don't see this
causing any severe problems (e.g., inability to further develop the
project). There have been such periods in the past, but we've moved
beyond this. OTOH, I'm not saying that a more active owner couldn't have
a positive influence on things - I'm just saying that as it is, it works.
3) Charlie and I have been mentioned. We both work on TeXworks in our
free time - you could consider it a hobby. Of course, this impairs the
progress of TeXworks (i.e., if we or someone else were to work full-time
on it, progress would most likely be (much) faster). At least for me (I
can't speak for Charlie), this is not an option right now, however, as I
have a job at the university and am working on my PhD thesis. In that
context, even if Jonathan were to relinquish ownership to one of us,
nothing would change, really.
The resources we need, therefore, are human resources; people who are
willing to take this journey with us. Hiring people for that is an
option, of course. Whether it's the best one I can't tell.
I agree with Paul also on the notion that there are still a lot of
things to be improved in TeXworks - a look at the Google Code issue list
reveals over 200 issues (most of them, fortunately, not bug reports but
feature requests). There also is a kind of "master plan" how to tackle
them (the development targets are: for 0.6 a rewrite of the pdf
previewer, for 0.8 an overhaul of the editor, and for 0.10 completing to
migrate to a new, more modular framework, which 0.6 and 0.8 should
prepare for). In view of this master plan, and because of few coders, we
have to prioritize. As the spell checker was mentioned: there is not
much point IMO to hack the one or other feature into it, thereby
introducing a lot of additional complexity into the code, when it is
scheduled for an overhaul in 0.8 (at which point (many of) the requested
features could be implemented much more easily.
At the same time, however, I want to encourage people to take a step
back and see how far we have come already. Over the past 1.5 years or
so, we've seen scripting come to life, have polished the user interface
in several ways (e.g., displaying of language names instead of cryptic
ISO codes), have implemented the "follow focus" feature to keep source
and preview in sync at all times, and have added support for numerous
file encodings, just to name a few. TeXworks has become a useful tool
that is used by many people all over the world. It has shortcomings in
many areas, and we are working to resolve them one at a time. This
certainly progresses slower than one would want, but that's the way of
things right now.
Regarding the governance model, I won't commented too much on it. I only
want to point out that it can bring a lot of overhead. I'm neither
against it nor in favor of it, but all the projects mentioned by Paul
(LibreOffice, Blender, etc.) have to coordinate a lot more people, and
often have some dedicated board where people are physically in one place
to hold meetings, etc. TeXworks currently doesn't have that (and
instating such a board will be difficult with the people currently
So, all in all, I absolutely share Paul's concern about the progress of
the development of TeXworks, and I agree that more resources are
(always) welcome. I have neither the wish nor the authority to
fundamentally change how TeXworks is developed, however, and only wanted
to express my view on some of the issues raised.
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