[pdftex] pdftex compression -- proposed addition to manual

Timothy Murphy tim at maths.tcd.ie
Sat Aug 25 16:29:44 CEST 2001

On Sat, Aug 25, 2001 at 09:50:16AM -0400, David Goldschmidt wrote:

> Hey, folks -- I think literate programming is great, but it's relevance to
> pdflatex is remote at best.  

I think it is relevant --
although I agree that the discussion has not been particularly profound.
One of the advantages of literate program a la Knuth
is that it makes it much easier to keep documentation and coding in sync.
In fact it is quite difficult for them to diverge.

I think this is an important issue.
For example, I would say that at least 50% of the Linux HOWTOs are useless
because of changes in coding since they were written.
(I was bitten by three of these in the last fortnight --
VAIO, Masquerade and APM.)

I fear that pdftex -- a program I admire immensely --
may be going down the same route.
I wonder if those responsible for it
are not concentrating too much on what experts want,
and not enough on newbies,
or those (like myself) who just want to use the program
with as little thought at possible ...

The great Ken Thompson said "A program should do one thing, and do it well".
I feel pdftex -- and PDF itself -- are trying to do too many things,
which could and should be "hived off".

Timothy Murphy  
e-mail: tim at maths.tcd.ie
tel: 086-233 6090
s-mail: School of Mathematics, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

More information about the pdftex mailing list