[Tugindia] Report on TUGIndia Delhi chapter meeting 4th May

Amitabh Trehan amitabhtrehan at softhome.net
Wed May 7 14:11:23 CEST 2003

 heres the report. A pdf copy is pasted on the web at
http://www.hindivishwa.org/downloads/tugdelhi/meetreport.pdf .


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A Treat-eyes on the TUGIndia-Delhi meet the 4th day this-May two-knot-knot-three

The second meeting of TUGIndia Delhi chapter was held at I.I.T. Delhi Maths department committee room at 2:30 p.m. The meeting was attended by 9 members, out of which 5 were coming for the first time (pretty dynamic body we are!). The people present were:
 S. Venkatraman
 K.K. Tripathi
 Raj Mathur
 Niyam Bhushan
 Vaibhav Sharma
 Ashish Kr. Mittal
 Supreet Sethi
 Wagish Shukla
 Amitabh Trehaan

The meeting was a thoroughly enjoyable event, full of dynamism and energy. Though we had three scheduled presentations, after four hours of activity, we could only present two and a half of them. 

The first presentation was by Niyam (LinuxLingam) on Publishing concepts - "What is Publishing?". This was a wonderful talk which illuminated some deep thought on LL's part on what actually is Publishing. LL stressed that Publishing means Bringing out something before the public. As such, it is the output of creative expression, in any form. Publishing can take any of the forms possible from the five elements (Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Sky(good heavens!)). It can come out as metal or sound, as book or painting or dance or music or television or  as computer software. According to LL, publishing is the single largest business in the world (It includes the software industry). What is important in publishing is the expression i.e. the content or the matter. Publishing is not about the container in which the expression is held. This is unfortunately what Publishing has come to mean to a lot of people nowadays. For them, publishing is XML or PageMaker or Quark Express, whereas these are just containers. LL does not agree with the use of the word `content' as it implies a container. So, the message is that publishing is much more than a language or a container, and what has to be thought about is the originality of creation. There were many more (mainly deep philosophical points) which cannot be touched in this short post-view. Every member had his own contribution to the discussion including the observation that TeX (or LaTeX) helps the author to concentrate on the expression rather than the container (by its document-logic formatting). In between, many technical points about TeX and LaTeX and their compilers were discussed and brought forth especially by Venkat and Raj.\\
 Then I (Amitabh) tried to give an  `Intro on LaTeX for newbies and use of devnag at shallow water depth'. The best part, as it turned out, was that though everybody in the meet introduced themselves as TeX illeterates, most knew a good deal (even though they may not be actaully using it in day-to-day work). As such, I gave some background history of TeX using the modern pdflatex based TUGIndia tutorial slides. By this time, having rotated and revolved our gray matter in all possible directions (prob. 16 (guess why? hint: Omega )), all volunteered for a cup-o-tee. \\

--- INTERVAL ---\\

After the tea, it was back to business. We just had a look at the basic LaTeX document, and decided that members should start using LaTeX to pick it up from the basic sources. We then also had a look at a devnag document and some members with a fine eye for fonts appreciated the basic beauty of the devnag font. The group also appreciated the development of the bold and italic variants of the devnag font by AleX, A.J. at Trivandrum.

Though, the Desktop PC at our disposal was a Windows machine, thanks to the network in IITD and the availability of GNULinux servers with TeX preinstalled and a good-hearted student who lent her account to us for a short time, we could try out somethings real time. In particular, it was very difficult to get Raj off the machine till he made some basic discoveries. In particular, that the commmand latex is a symbolic link to the command tex, you can even call latex as tex --format=latex (therefore, latex just makes a call to tex telling it to use LaTeX macros) etc. Since devnag was installed on the machine, I showed the `jugaad' method of running things by copying all the devnag files,  Alex's Bold, italic devnag files and omega devnag files into the work directory. So we could get devnag working.

 Then Venkat was called upon to talk on TeX fonts and Omega. However, since we had already overshot all time limits in the fun, he didn't get much of a chance to give a complete presentation. However, Venkat showed how to run Lambda (LaTeX port of Omega) on a devnag file and using the OCP and OTP files coming with Omega. The importance of Omega as Unicode based 32-bit TeX was also discussed. The Omega researchers have discovered 16 different directions in which scripts are written worldwide. Certain small glitches were noticed when using using the files with Omega. I and Venkat have volunteered to run a test on large devnag files available to us to test Lambda.

Since, it was getting almost 6:30 p.m. we have left Venkat with the task of making another broad presentation at the next meet.  There was discussion on how the group should function, so that the group can function `on its own'. It has been suggested that the group should function as a group of projects(!) i.e. as a consortium of workgroups. There was discussion on how often the group meets should be held. At the start of the meet, the suggestions were towards once in two months but by the end they veered towards once a month. The suggested dates for the next meeting are 21st or 22nd June, due to the upcoming TeX workshop in Pune in  early June. These shall be discussed on the mailing list. 

Amitabh Trehaan


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