[tex-live] TL2005 for Windows: paper size revisited

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Mar 24 20:06:29 CET 2006

On 3/24/06, Paweł Jackowski <P.Jackowski at gust.org.pl> wrote:
> Hi there,
> > I don't care to debate this on the list, but I have to express my strong
> > disagreement.  Not that I have any power to implement anything, so if
> > you just want to ignore me, feel free :).  Without a feature like this,
> > *every user in North America* has to figure out how to change the dvips,
> > dvipdfm[x], and pdftex config files to get a working TeX setup.  It is
> > no fun at all, believe me.  It's things like this that make upgrades
> > so painful.
> Not going to ignore you, but can't see any relation between the lack of
> letter/a4 defaults and painful upgrades. Upgrades are painful indeed,
> because two subsequent TLs never match the previous, that is because
> there are still people thinking how to make things better and better -)
> Anyway, the configuration part might be a horror, as configuring any
> other nonGUI system and I agree that some kind of tex 'contol panel' is
> necessary to popularize TeX. Will think about.

TeX itself is non-gui, so I don't see a problem with pdftexconfig.tex.
What is a problem is that dvips, dviout, dvipdfm, etc. all have
different configuration files and that various formats have hard-coded
depending on the author's location.  I've been trying to get rid of
.dvi files for years, but they are like the cat that came back.

> > The problem is not document-level packages and formats.  The problem is
> > getting the programs' defaults set for documents which specify no paper
> > size, which is virtually all of them (whatever Hans's theories are, the
> > world does not operate that way).

So the default layout should work for both A4 and letter (and the
output device should guess at the appropriate papersize).  If someone
wants to adjust the layout they should be able to do that in the
document rather than yet another configuration file.

> So which way the world operate?? Certainly, the world doesn't use TeX.
> It is not just Hans theory, that document size and layout are dependent
> -- sounds quite obvious to me. Pure TeX doesn't allow to specify the
> final page brutto size and *that* is the way the world doesn't operate
> nowadays. Anyway, as you, I don't feel like continuing paper-debate. For
> the moment I have no doubts, that some tex-config-helper would be fine.
> And no ideas how that should work -) Meybe Tomek or Staszek has -- will
> discuss.

A tex-config-helper is the best that can be done without the
participation of dviX authors, but it masks the underlying problem.  A
robust, portable, command-line tool can be hidden under a GUI if
someone cares enough to write one (or even
attached to a button in some editor).

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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