[texhax] latex vs. pdflatex

Erik T. Ray etr at ravelgrane.com
Thu Oct 16 17:08:40 CEST 2003

On Wednesday, October 15, 2003, at 05:31 PM, Philip G. Ratcliffe wrote:
>> As a sys admin I have to maintain a latex environment for researchers.
>> The problem is, my users are using both latex and pdflatex, and I want
>> to standardize on just one. In my experience, there are subtle
>> differences and it is difficult to use the same .sty files for both
>> environments. Does anybody have advice on which one I should pick, or
>> if there is a good reason to provide both? If the world is moving
>> toward one of them, I would like to be in the majority.
> I really don't get the point - you should provide everything and the 
> users
> have the choice - that's the idea of such a system - MiKTeX, or 
> whatever,
> lets you have the lot.  Or, to put it another way, if you standardised 
> on
> one, I, as a user, would be really, really pissed off if I needed the 
> other!
> That said, I have total MiKTeX on my laptop, so I don't ever depend on 
> the
> whims of system managers.

This is a contractual support issue, so by "standardizing" I mean that 
I will help users with one type of latex and for the other kinds they 
are on their own. I am not removing any software that is already 

In theory .sty files should work the same with any kind of latex, but 
in practice I find that they don't. And rather than sit here for many 
hours trying to figure out why, I would rather focus on one kind and 
understand it thoroughly.

The majority here seem to favor pdflatex, so I think I will go with 
that. Thanks, everyone.

Erik Ray                     Unix Systems Administrator
Harvard-MIT Data Center      Harvard University

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