[tex-live] forwarded message from Mel Nathanson

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk
Sun, 29 Jul 2001 23:57:25 +0100

 > I used Quick install to load TeX Live, but nowhere in the
 > voluminous documentation (of course, too much is equivalent to none
 > at all) could I find how to actually run LaTex (compile, preview,
 > and print a LaTex file).  Please tell me how to run LaTex.

just the same way you always did run LaTeX, via type
 latex sample2e

on a command-line. you can choose to use a shell like WinEdt, TeXShell
or Emacs if you like, but we do not mandate that. similarly,
 dvips sample2e -o

creates a PostScript file which you can preview or print.

 > assume this question has a one-sentence answer.  This simple but
 > crucial sentence should be instantly available with the CD.

we did not include it, because nothing has changed in this respect since
Knuth wrote the TeX Book :-}

 > I also cannot find (at least, written in human language) how to run
 > LaTex from the CD.  The TeX Live Guide is completely useless, since
 > it is written in gibberish.

I am sorry you find it gibberish. All I can say is that it is not
intended as a guide to using TeX, but a guide to the CD, which is not
the same thing at all. We'd be very glad of any help to get it better,
if you have some time to volunteer.

 > I had assumed that the AMS recommended your program to its members
 > because it would be easy and reliable to use.  So far I am
 > disappointed.

I was not aware that the AMS recommended TeX Live, that's
interesting. I suspect that they do so because it is kept up to date
and is complete, rather than because it is easy to use. 

TeX Live never really set out to be easy to use; it's aim was to deliver
a modern comprehensive TeX system in a consistent form, to avoid the
need to walk around CTAN looking for extras. The 4A

Those of use who work on TeX Live are all, I think, aware that the
documentation could be improved, but none of us is really in a
position to write a comprehensive guide. Having said that, you
should find TeXLive 6 an improvement, both in the setup and in the
documentation (tho I suspect it still does not tell you how to run TeX...)

Sebastian Rahtz