[texhax] For what it's worth

Tom Schneider toms at ncifcrf.gov
Mon Oct 18 16:21:52 CEST 2004


> On Friday, October 15, 2004, at 12:56  PM, Robert Peltier wrote:
> > Background: Downloaded LyX which had me download and install 
> > i-installer, which brought me to Gerben's i-Directory at TUG through 
> > its interface.
> >
> > After selecting an i-Package name then selecting "Show i-Package 
> > window" I have noticed something very confusing. All your descriptions 
> > reveal what a package is, but nothing describes what it does.
> >
> > Example: "This is Gerben Wierda's binary distribution of Fondu for Mac 
> > OS X. It has been created by downloading fondu from sourceforge and 
> > compiling and installing it with make."
> That's a bit disingenuous given that the full name of this package is 
> ``Fondu Mac font cli tools''. Any reasonably competent mac-user would 
> extrapolate from the ``fond'' portion of the name that it's related to 
> manipulating a font's resource forks, and any Unix user will have 
> bitter experience with dealing with such files and know that 
> specialized tools are necessary to pull things out of the Mac OS 9 and 
> earlier proprietary file formats.

You are assuming that the person has 20 years of computer experience
like you do.  We don't all have that experience.  The documentation
was not sufficient and self contained.  It assumed too much.  The
person who wrote it should have stepped back and added one or two more
basic sentences.

> _Any_ computer user who has figured out the difference between GUI and 
> CLI will know that the latter stands for ``Command Line Interface'' and 
> know whether or no they are interested in using such tools.

Hmm.  I've been working with computers on command lines and have not
seen CLI before.  Are you familiar with PCR and RVT?  You should be,
they gathered Nobel prizes!!!

> If you don't know what a tool is, you probably don't need it.

Gee.  I never heard of LaTeX.  I guess I don't need it!  I don't need
Linux, OOo, xv, xfig or gimp either.  Most people have not heard of

> If you want to find out what it does, well, that's ``an exercise
> left for the reader'' as the academics say, and with today's
> sophisticated search engines is trivial.

This does not solve the problem the person was facing.  He wants to
KNOW what it is without having to run all over the net.  It takes a
bit more work on the part of the person to document it, but allows
someone to know what it does in an instant.

You can never have enough documentation.

Perhaps you would find atchange useful?  Isn't the name obvious?

Have fun with atchange!



  Dr. Thomas D. Schneider
  National Cancer Institute
  Laboratory of Experimental and Computational Biology
  Molecular Information Theory Group
  Frederick, Maryland  21702-1201
  toms at ncifcrf.gov
  permanent email: toms at alum.mit.edu (use only if first address fails)

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