[tex-live] Non-PDF documentation

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Feb 2 01:16:16 CET 2010

On 1 February 2010 Frank Küster wrote:

 > Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard <mpg at elzevir.fr> wrote:
 > > Hi Philipp,
 > >
 > > Philipp Stephani a écrit :
 > >> are there any plans to convert non-PDF manuals to PDF? I think
 > >> PS and DVI manuals are inconvenient for many because end users
 > >> generally have no DVI or PostScript viewer installed. For
 > >> example, on Mac OS X, PDFs can be viewed natively, whereas DVIs
 > >> and PSs have to be converted on the fly and look much worse.
 > >
 > > I agree with you. Actually there are such plans. At least Robin
 > > an I have been converting dvi/ps documentation to pdf (or
 > > generating pdf documentation when no compiled doc was available
 > > at all) for some time.
 > What a pity.  Viewing DVI in xdvi is so much faster and in
 > particular so much more comfortable than PDF in xpdf(-derivatives)
 > or acroread.

This was discussed in depth already.  DVI is not an option at all
because DVI files don't incorporate all the needed resources (fonts,
graphics,...).  Furthermore, they can contain stuff (\special)
supposed to be processed by post-processors.

Whether to provide documentation as DVI, PS, or PDF is definitely not
a matter of taste.  There are many technical constraints.

And for CTAN, DVI doesn't make any sense at all if documentation is
supposed to be accessible online.
 > Is there really a majority of TeX users who prefer PDF?  

Sure, the majority of TeX users create PDF.  Most PDF related
documentation files *have* to be in PDF.  Run "texdoc movie15" for
example.  Be warned: you *need* Adobe Reader 6 at least.

 > Is the planned new 1.5 format faster to load?  

The files will be smaller, at least.  How much depends on the content.
Network downloads will be faster. If you have the file on your hard
drive, I'm not sure that you'll notice the difference. 

 > Are there any alternative PDF viewers that can be handled
 > conveniently with keystrokes, like xdvi?

Good question.  Alexander Grahn wrote a JavaScript file which adds a
"Reload" entry to Adobe Reader's File menu.  It's pretty easy to
install: just throw the script into AR's "JavaScripts" directory.
I don't know whether it's possible to define keyboard shortcuts
similarly.  Would be great.  Does anybody know more?


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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