On Fri, 25 May 2001, Harald Hanche-Olsen wrote:
I know the question I am about to ask is one rarely answered, and for
excellent reasons - but I ask it anyway:
Is there a new teTeX release underway anytime soon?
The present stable release is getting quite old. We certainly need
amslatex version 2, for example. I also have the impression that
pdftex has been improved quite a bit lately, and it would be nice to
have a recent version of it.
OTOH, you almost certainly have users who expect to be able to
regenerate documents written with the old version after minor
changes (e.g., final corrections for publication).
There is a huge difference between updating a TeX macro package and
installing new binaries. If your TeX system is working properly, you
should be able to update the macro packages without making changes to the
underlying system. Unless you are on a free OS, building or installing
new binaries usually involves asking the boss to pay for an OS or compiler
Now please don't get me wrong: I appreciate the ease and convenience
of installing teTeX, and I also appreciate the longish interval
between releases, which helps to diminish the pressure to always
upgrade to the latest version. But with more than a year since the
previous release I think maybe the time is ripe for another stable
release. (Perhaps after the next LaTeX release, unless June 1 arrives
very late this year?)
What new capabilities should be present to make teTeX 2 worthwhile? I'm
hoping that we will be able to get by without PK fonts and use PDF
extensively. I'm not sure we can do without the EC fonts yet, and Acrobat
5 seems to require a whole new array of workarounds to get past Adobe's
inability to learn from past mistakes -- or is the TeX community
wrong in expecting Acrobat 5 to include bug fixes from earlier versions?
PDF is still very much of a moving target, so anyone who wants to
work with PDF needs to be in a position to upgrade early and often.
If a new stable release is not very likely to happen soon, I'll
consider the latest beta instead. What experiences do people have
with the beta releases? And do they track stuff like amslatex and
pdftex well? My dilemma here is twofold: I maintain teTeX on umpteen
architectures for our entire university, so I cannot afford a high
risk of mistakes (an argument in favour of stable releases). And I
basically only have the time for major upgrades during the summer
months, which may be difficult to synchronize with stable releases (an
argument in favour of beta releases).
The only way we can ever get rid of a TeX distribution is to kill off
the machine it lives on. Most users learn to work with the quirks of
a particular distribution and don't want anything to change. When
they are forced to move to a new system they are generally willing
to consider moving to a newer (stable) TeX distribution.
Any insight, wisdom, or (gasp!) actual information will be very
It is not difficult to layer updates on top of the current stable teTeX
by creating additional texmf trees, each with a web2c/texmf.cnf file. We
have done this for the SGI freeware distribution of teTeX with relatively
little pain. To use the updated version users have only to adjust their
PATH and set TEXMFCNF.
George White [EMAIL PROTECTED] Halifax, Nova Scotia