[texhax] Puzzle: bibtex working when it *shouldn't*!!! ???

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Wed May 9 01:20:35 CEST 2018

On 2018-05-08 at 14:32:55 -0700, Tomas Rokicki wrote:

 > Don't forget, TeX was written in an era when each system had its
 > own file system with its own idiosyncrasies when it came to
 > extensions, upper/lowercase in file names, directory separators,
 > etc.  (Even today some filesystems confuse Makefile and makefile,
 > for instance [OSX].)  Windows has some very strange naming
 > conventions and issues today as well.
 > Short names where the extensions could be inferred were
 > felt to be more portable.
 > The file name conventions are located in what is typically the
 > system-dependent part of the code; MikTeX is likely making
 > different decisions there than TeXLive.  They should be
 > brought into conformance if possible, but the fact that they are
 > different should not be a shock.

Sure.  TeX Live works exactly the same way on all supported systems
nowadays, including OS X and Windows.  There might still be slightly
different behavior in respect of portability of files dependent on
whether a file system is case sensitive or not.  With Karl's recent
changes to Kpathsea I suppose that it's very unlikely that problems
occur in the future.

TeX Live proved that at user level everything can behave on Windows
exactly as on Unix.  It would be nice if differences between TeX Live
and MiKTeX can be avoided.

Internally both distros work differently and thus have to provide
their own documentation.  But at user level there shouldn't be any
differences at all.  In other words: an author of a book about TeX or
LaTeX should never have to explain the differences between TeX Live
and MiKTeX.  But this requires a minimal amount of communication and
more feedback from Christian is welcome.

It's a pleasure to support students writing their theses when
everything works the same way for me and them even if they use


Reinhard Kotucha                            Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                    mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de

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