[OS X TeX] MacTeX and LaTeX package documentation

Rowland McDonnell rjmm-lists1 at fireflyuk.net
Fri Oct 13 13:22:52 CEST 2006

> Le 13 oct. 06 à 07:00, Franck Pastor a écrit :
> > Le 13-oct.-06 à 04:40, Rowland McDonnell a écrit :
> >
> >> I've recently installed MacTeX, and I thought I'd take a look at
> >> the current documentation for Babel.
> >>
> >> The thing is, the documentation does not appear to have been
> >> included with MacTeX:
> >>
> >> Hattie:teTeX rowland$ sudo find / -name "babel.*"
> >> Password:
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/generic/tex4ht/babel.4ht
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/help/Catalogue/entries/ 
> >> babel.html
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/babel/babel.def
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/babel/babel.sty
> >>
> >> Is this as it's supposed to be?  If so, what's the approved method
> >> of getting the documentation?
> >
> > /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/generic/babel/user.dvi
> >
> > Generally speaking, for documentation one has to look in the "doc"  
> > folder of the texmf trees (mainly texmf.tetex, and texmf.gwtex for  
> > some additional packages).
> >
> > You also may use the "texdoc" command. "texdoc babel", in the  
> > Terminal, opens the "TeX Catalogue online"'s section for Babel's  
> > documentation.
> This documentation user.dvi, which is the one included in teTeX and  
> hence in gwTeX, is the lightweight version. In my opinion it is quite  
> insufficient when one wants to understand and use the specific  
> switches for any particular language --- in my case French.

Even the full documentation isn't very good unless you're the sort who
likes to read the source code.  It's very short on examples - the only
way to find out how to use Babel is to experiment and test to find out
what happens, what works, and so on.  This is deeply unsatisfactory. 
I've got a copy of the Babel documentation I printed out in 1997, and
that's *much* better (same author), but of course it's hopelessly out
of date, not to mention LaTeX 2.09.

> For this, the full documentation babel.pdf is required, and at  
> present you have to get it from CTAN, for example at:
> <ftp://ftp.cam.ctan.org/tex-archive/macros/latex/required/babel/ 
> babel.pdf>

Aye, as I said, I grabbed the entire current Babel distribution from
CTAN and installed it.  It's been a bit of a pain so far - it broke my
local letter class, for example.  Needed to do some hacking around to
get things working together nicely, and my `I use this one for
everything' package is going to need a complete re-write because of
Babel, but so it goes - but I've been meaning to give it a complete
re-write for some time now.

> I hope the situation will change at some point in the future, and  
> babel.pdf will indeed be included. The problem here, I guess, is that  
> teTeX chose not to include it, and given the development of teTeX has  
> stopped nothing will be able to change until the TeXLive-based  
> replacement for teTeX, upon which Gerben is currently working, will  
> be effective.



One other question: does anyone know when Babel got moved to the
`required' section of CTAN?  I can't see any mention of Babel being
`required' for a LaTeX setup in ltnewsNN.tex.

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