[tex-eplain] Does xeplain.tex still exist?

Oleg Katsitadze olegkat at gmail.com
Fri Jun 19 07:07:27 CEST 2009

On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:08:01AM -0300, Jim Diamond wrote:
> In the zip archive, instead of eplain.tex, there is
> xeplain.tex, and in TeXlive 2008 there is only eplain.tex.  This
> asymmetry is a bit frustrating.

This asymmetry is reasonable, it is due to the different purposes of
the zip archive and TeX Live.  Zip archive is a snapshot of the
sources, and TeX-Live contains the compiled eplain.tex, ready to be
used.  Much like the source tarball of, say, Emacs vs. the
binary/compiled elisp libraries distributed in Debian.

> (I realize that some people might just want to use arrow and/or
> btxmac by themselves, thus they must be available.)


> (1) include xeplain.tex in TeX distributions, even if only in some
>     "doc" directory, or

Well, that's a request to developers of a particular distribution.
The tarball distributed from the Eplain home page contains the
complete sources (in a zip archive) and, as a convenience, eplain.tex
and documentation in a TDS tree.  It is completely up to a TeX
distribution to include additional files or ignore some of the
distributed ones.

But I have a feeling that distributing just xeplain.tex will actually
confuse people, even (especially?) those who will be looking for it.
Finding just xeplain.tex without the rest of the infrastructure can be
as confusing as it might be helpful.  In my opinion, it is far better
to add a clearer note to the top of eplain.tex directing people to the
complete sources.

> (2) (in light of today's compute power) drop the concept of having an
>     automatically-generated eplain.tex and just define eplain.tex to
>     \input the required source files.

The issue here is not the computing overhead but convenience of the
majority of users who don't care about the sources.  It is very
convenient to be able to just drop eplain.tex in the same directory
with the document for archival purposes.  If we split the sources, the
users will have to locate all the dependencies for themselves.
Furthermore, if/when distributions start compiling combinations of
different versions of eplain.tex and the \input'ed files, the same
version of eplain.tex might start behaving very differently on
different distributions.


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