[metapost] non-deviant "deviates"

Larry Siebenmann laurent at math.toronto.edu
Sun Feb 27 01:16:09 CET 2005

Hi all,

Have I a small but annoying bug/misfeature in the
compilation of metapost in OzTeX on Macintosh?

The pseudo random number generating functions
"uniformdeviate" and "normaldeviate" are, when unseeded,
*intended* to begin preudo randomly with a seed number that
depends on time. See the metafont book.  It would
obviously be appropriate that successive launches of a job
have different seeds.

But this is not the case for my metapost compilation. The
'deviate' values at successive launches are very often the
same because my compilation of metapost turns out to
measure time in whole seconds in this situation.

This is an unnecessary annoyance because any contemporary
computer can cut a minute into more parts than there are
seconds in a year.  What is essential is that the seeds at
successive launches be different -- and even an ancient
computer could manage that; so this misfeature was,  I
suspect, *never* necessary.

Who has a metapost compilation that is free of this

Is there some reason for not fixing it for *everybody*?
I see no elegant workaround.



Laurent S.

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