[texhax] installation of TEX

Philip Taylor (Webmaster) P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Thu Feb 8 19:09:30 CET 2007

Pierre MacKay wrote:

> I suspect the answer may be quite simple.  Windows is infuriatingly
> literal about suffixes, and never bothers to read the first ten or so
> bytes of a file (used by the Linux/Unix "file" command) to determine the
> type and content. 

Thank the Lord for that !  Why /any/ operating system should believe
that it can unambiguously identify a file by reading the first few
bytes remains a complete mystery to me; surely operating system
designers know that /binary/ files are just that, and that
given infinite time, and an infinitely large room containing
an infinite number of monkeys,  every possible byte pattern can
and will occur in every position in an arbitrary binary file.

> For example, a TIFF file with a suffix .tiff, will be
> rejected as unreadable until you rename it as .tif.

Not true : all that is necessary is to add .TIFF (or .tiff,
if you prefer) to the list of known file extensions and
to associate it with the same set of semantics as are
currently ascribed to .TIF (or .tif) files ...

 > Any suffix unknown
> to Windows will be rejected as unreadable. 

Not "as unreadable", simply as "unknown", at which point
it behoves the informed user to teach Windows about the
new file extension ...

>  A file with the .tex suffix
> or the .ltx suffix will almost certainly be rejected; .dvi even more so.
> The original query does not suggest that the correspondent would be
> comfortable reading a .tex or .ltx source file, and a .dvi file would be
> hopeless in that context.
> If you are condemned to work in a Microsoft environment,

or "privileged", depending on your point of view ...

> an investment in ConversionsPlus is probably worth the moderate expense. 
> ConversionsPlus seems to make use of the initial ID bytes in files in
> order to make intelligent judgements about what Microsoft utility can
> read them.  It is far from comprehensive, but it works most of the
> time.   ConversionsPlus would probably determine that a .tex source file
> was a .txt file and open it in notepad.  A pain in the neck, but at
> least a first approach.

On the other hand, if the original enquirer were to install any
half-decent TeX editing tool (WinEDT immediately comes to mind),
it would, on installation, associate itself with TeX files after
which they would automatically open in the correct utility.

> Vista is likely to be twice as restrictive and unresponsive!

I reserve judgement on Vista until I have had a chance to try
it in earnest, but already I am impressed by the fact that
I will be able, for the first time, to "Switch user" whilst
authenticating against a domain ("Switch user" was previously
restricted to PCs that were not members of a domain).

And yes, I know that Pierre's position, as mine, is as much
a matter of quasi-religious belief as it is of fact, but I
simply couldn't resist rising to his bait ...

Philip Taylor

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