texlive 5

Arthur Ogawa ogawa@teleport.com
Fri, 01 Oct 1999 13:33:46 -0700

Sebastian Rahtz wrote:

> If we want to bring out TL5 next spring in the proposed new style (ie
> with "added-value" documentation from TUG), you would have to start
Actually, from the TeX Live team, right?

> writing this documentation really rather soon.

Thanks for the reminder! I'm feeling ill with dread already.

> ...Have you had any thoughts on how to go about it?

I figured that I would take the installation guides that you and Fabrice put
together along with material I might be able to wrangle out of Volker Schaa
and anyone else I can grab ahold of.

The new 4TeX manual just arrived; it is very useful as a guide (TeX Live
should have so nice a manual!).

Alan Hoenig's book has some good discussions as well. I read the first few
chapters with my Newbie hat on and saw some real possibilities.

> ...I would suggest that it would have to
> be substantially complete by the end of January at the latest, to
> permit detailed checking and translation.

Maybe the translators can be involved in the writing effort. Who will be involved?

Do you want out of the editorship? Just asking; I know you already said you
did. Your role could be one of "starting me with a rope's end" (aside to
Sebastian: I'm ready to read "Blue at the Mizzen").

Here's my general outline:

0. Introduction. What's in this manual. How to use.

1. What is TeX? What is LaTeX? (General context)

   Someone who has decided to evaluate TeX might buy the CD: now they need the
info that is at the beginning of Alan Hoenig's book, suitably updated and
edited. Knuth has a little along these lines, but it is totally ignorant of
CTAN and LaTeX. 

   Need information about how the TeX Live experience differs on various
platforms, and how it is the same.

2. Roadmap of TeX Live (should explain TDS and perhaps the Web2C config system)

   Someone who has never seen TDS before needs a bit of orientation. Also,
even after installation, the CD may continue to be used: need to give guidance
on what it is useful for and what to expect.

3. Installation manual for UNIX, Win32, MacOS (any others?).

    Here I would cleave to what you and Fabrice have done.

It would be nice to have a BOM upon completion of the installation.

4. Configuration manual for the above.

   Most of the technical details are covered well in the current manual, but
I'm sure the clarity of presentation can be improved somewhat.

5. Hello World (your first TeX Live job)---will confirm that the installation
is correct.

   This walks the reader through and provides tests (do this and you should
see that).

   Perhaps some info on troubleshooting.

6. Further resources.

   a. How to use CTAN to update runtime files (that is, to the exclusion of
the binaries)

      Because TL goes out of date so quickly due to the "million monkeys" factor.

   b. How to gain more TeX and LaTeX expertise.

      Books, Usenet news groups, info-tex, lugs, consultants.

   c. How to join users groups.

   d. Bibliography

      Surely we can grab this from somewhere. Like Nelson Beebe?

   e. How to contribute to the TeX Live effort.

      Here's the big payoff. Some of these guys might help out.

My concerns:

1. I can run CMacTeX, but if I want to run Linux or Win98 it's extra effort,
and I do not think I am up to running NT, Solaris, AIX, etc. So, I will need
collaborators to help out when platform-specific stuff comes up.

2. We cannot possibly create a fully-fledged manual of the above scope in
time. We need to exercise triage already.

3. I need to keep on paying rent; I cannot go on sebbatical to write the manual.