[texhax] dvi vs pdf

Michael Barr barr at math.mcgill.ca
Thu Dec 2 19:40:03 CET 2010

Here is my reaction to the various replies I have received.  First, as 
long as TeX is TeX it will be required to produce dvi files.  As for pdf, 
I have no doubt that when it is no longer supported, there will be 
converters.  But the journal I help edit has several hundred papers in pdf 
format (most also in dvi and ps).  Who will convert them.  It would be a 
huge job and we run on zero budget.  To see what can happen, what would 
you do with a Word file from, say, 1990?  Each version of Word can handle 
files from the previous version or two, but no further.  So unless that 
file was continually updated from version to version, it is effectively 
dead.  I don't expect this to happen with pdf, but it illustrates the 

I have one further problem with pdf.  I am accustomed to compiling a file, 
previewing it, making changes and then iterate.  I cannot do that with the 
Adobe reader.  I cannot write a new pdf file while the old one is loaded. 
So exit the file from the reader, then compile the new version, load 
the new file, and then find your place again.  I find this intolerable. 
Someone once suggested a different pdf reader and I tried it and found it 
unsatisfactory in other ways (I no longer recall why).  I'll stick to dvi, 
thank you.


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