Planning for TL5

Arthur Ogawa
Wed, 25 Aug 1999 15:10:40 -0700

Walter Schmidt wrote:
> On Mon, 23 Aug 1999 22:26:56 -0700, Arthur Ogawa wrote:
> >8. We also discussed that it would be in principle possible for an author to
> >prebuild all of the files needed at run time, albeit this would load up CTAN
> >more.
> The question is, however, whether you can force all authors to obey
> these rules...

I call this the adoptions problem: we want authors to adopt our best
practices, and we can by no means force them to do so. One could even argue
that to attempt to do so would be a grave mistake.

I think that we can get people to adopt a particular approach in proportion to
how acceptable, convenient, even advantageous that approach is. Therefore, we should:

A. Demonstrate best practices by adopting them ourselves in the packages we
ourselves submit.

B. Make these practices as appealing as possible by providing examples, tools, etc.

> >9. We agreed that it would be desirable for the author to provide information
> >about the package, possibly in the form of an XML document that would be the
> >basis for an entry in Graham's database.
> You mean, I have to learn XML before I am allowed to publish a LaTeX package?
> No -- thanks!

Now I recall: we also talked about making up a form on the web page that would
interface to these XML documents. The package author would never see a single
XML code.

And as to "have to learn...before I am allowed..." Please note that I am not
by any means advocating raising any new barriers to CTAN package authors. Far
from it.

> >11. We discussed creating a system that would update a user's texmf tree over
> >the internet. This updater would presumably be based on the TL host mentioned
> >above.

> Keeping this machine constantly up-to-date and bug-free is still more
> effort that making a good CDROM.  This is IMO not a task to start with!

Right: not a task to start with. It is I think more a desirable goal for some
future time.

> >12. We discussed the possibility of rewriting the TL installers all in Perl,
> >so that they would run on all hosts, not just UNIX.

> Does Win provide Perl by default?  OS/2 doesn't. What about Java?...

Perl is also not default on MacOS, but it is free on that platform. And Java
is now supported on MacOS, so Java applets are a possibility on that platform.