[tex-live] Having a .fmt for different engines

Taco Hoekwater taco at elvenkind.com
Sat Jan 6 11:38:18 CET 2007

Gerben Wierda wrote:
> On Jan 6, 2007, at 10:55, Taco Hoekwater wrote:
>> Gerben Wierda wrote:
>>> My personal preference is a change in ConTeXt. For ConTeXt, with its 
>>> separate texexec/texmfstart calling mechanism the engine is a 
>>> variable (but this is not reflected in the name of the formats). For 
>>> XeTeX and PDFTeX, the engine is a start and the macro set (Plain, 
>>> LaTeX, etc.) is a variable leading to variable format names.
>> The format names used to be different, thanks to the different
>> extension used by the various engines. This feature was removed
>> for web2c in favour of $engine, but support for that was never
>> implemented in the tetex/texlive tools, resulting in suddenly
>> identical filenames.  Don't go blaming context for that!
> I am not blaming ConTeXT and I think I did not participate in the 
> earlier discussions though I think I would have sided with Thomas.

> Basically, I think the different-names (either basename, or extension) 
> is more robust than identical names in different directories. 

I am sure Hans still has the emails somewhere. The short rundown:

   1. Extensions modifiers were dropped
   2. Engine support was promised as replacement

1. happened, 2. didnt.

This is not a new situation or discussion, it was exactly the same
last year, except last year it was decided that since there were
near-zero aleph users, and xetex was not yet included, the problem
could be worked around by making context-on-texlive support pdfetex

> Given that 
> we are not getting the different extensions back, how difficult would it 
> be to let ConTeXT use a different names strategy comparable to the 
> current rest? E.g.
>     xtx-cont-en.fmt
>     pdf-cont-en.fmt

Context has a very important life cycle (distribution) besides being
included on TeXLive, so I feel confident (but keep in mind that I
am not actually Hans Hagen) in saying that the answer is: This will
not happen in the upstream package.

Many Context users do not reinstall from scratch, but instead update
their system regularly, so there is a pressing need to be backward
compatible with already existing installations. Definately more so
than TeXLive, which is essentially throw-away-and-reinstall-each-year


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