[tex-live] Ruby interpreter for Windows in the TeXLive distribution?

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun Jul 2 17:05:28 CEST 2006

On 7/2/06, Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> wrote:
> Giuseppe Bilotta wrote:
> > Windows has made things worse, not better, by giving the illusion that
> > training is not needed.
> >
> hm, i more get the impression that people (kids) don't want that kind of
> training, they just want to get started and learn while doing. Many
> programs (as well windows as a whole, or a fresh linux destop) does
> offer those 'introduction' and 'tips' things but how many (new) users
> take the time to  follow the learning  route

There are books for educators that discuss the different approaches to
learning between the generation of college teachers and college
students.  For many students, most of their computer experience has
been with gaming, which encourages "risk-free" experimentation in a
"world" where the possibilities can be enumerated using a small
integer.  Educators (and people trying to make TeX accessible to a
wide audience) need to recognize the different approaches to learning.

> there was a time that when you installed a new version of an os, reading
> a few pages could bring you up to date, that time has gone
> [...]
> look back at the last 20 years and then extrapolate to 20 years from
> now: our current operating systems (and discussions) will look silly and
> dark age; and tex ... maybe we have realtime rendering all around and
> deal with information in completely new ways; just as many kids will not
> recognize the thashcan ice on as representing a can, they may no longer
> think of files and systems. (btw, does your computer's desnk top look
> like your desktop?)

No -- my desk has many layers of paper (papers waiting to be entered
in bibtex and filed, scribbled notes on the backside of old printouts,
flyers, etc.) that I would recycle if the bin wasn't already
overflowing.  I keep the computer's desktop neat because the capacity
to file or delete stuff doesn't require heavy lifting and can be done
while waiting for TeX runs.

> it would be an interesting exercise to extrapolate what tex live 2020
> should look like, because we may need some time to get that done;
> operating systems have come and gone then, and we may even face
> ourselves (tex users) with extinction; and think of 2040 when someone
> has to come by and install your computer ... (with or without tex)

TeX will evolve in ways that are difficult to predict or understand --
some ideas (think pdftex) will prosper.  Others (think of my poor
colleage used Y&Y TeX for a book, only to discover that figures which
worked using dvipsone weren't acceptable to dvips) will die out.  I
expect future math typesetting systems will be better integrated with
applications (symbolic maths, stats, etc.) and will automate the
processing steps (latex, bibtex, latex, ...).  ConTeXt gets many of
these right, so in my opion a TeX system that doesn't properly support
ConTeXt is badly broken.

I do hope literate programming will be rediscovered at some point.

In the future I expect to see TeX better integrated with other
applications.  This implies more reliance on system-specific font
configuration (Y&Y, xetex), and much more reliance on the use of 3rd
party languages and GUI tools.  The danger is that incompatible
systems will evolve from TeX on each mainstream platform.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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