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
> welcome indeed.

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

George White <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Halifax, Nova Scotia

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