[tex-live] Re: [tug-board] Any news of DVDs ?

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Fri Jan 27 00:09:05 CET 2006

Karl Berry wrote:
>     comprehensibility of ZIP compression is a strong argument for its
>     adoption in preference to BZ2.
> You are the first person I can recall who complained about being unable
> to use the .bz2 files.  No doubt there are others who simply didn't
> report their problems, 

Me included. I don't have anything personal against bzip2 except that
it's unheard-of, unusual, and non-standard. Granted, it's on my FC4
machines, but TeX CD/DVD images are the only things that I ever use
it for, so I have to RTFM every year to remember what to type. Goddess
help the poor individual user.

It doesn't bother me now, having got used to it, but it's hard to
explain to technically-sophisticated people that using bzip2 does *not*
make others go "oooh, that's clever/sensible", it makes them go
"goddammit why can't they follow standard practice". We have enough
problems as it is, explaining to newcomers why LaTeX isn't like Word,
and adding a non-standard compression method just accentuates the

Bzip2 *does* compress better, but 30Mb out of 600Mb is 5%, which is IMHE
*much* less than the increasingly common degradation in download speed
encountered by the average broadband user on a contentious connection --
in other words your domestic connection is more likely to be a cause of
slowdown than is a 5% difference in file size. Users on corporate and
campus networks have bandwidth coming out of their ears, so it's
irrelevant; and users on dialup aren't going to download DVD images.

In any case, \begin[linux]{snobbery}gzip is far preferable to

> but, overall, I don't think it's our job to
> explain every piece of software involved.  

True, otherwise we'd be explaining to them how to click on a mouse
button as well. A certain level of grok is expected. I just think bz2
is a little over the edge (but not enough to want to change it if there
are compelling technical reasons for staying with it that I am unaware

> We want to encourage people
> to join user groups, after all.

We also want to encourage them to download the image...


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