[tex-live] TeX Live testing

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Wed Sep 26 14:00:38 CEST 2007

On 9/25/07, Lantz Susan <lantzs at tristate.edu> wrote:

> While searching the web for TeX editors and shells—TSU has *nothing* that
> will process TeX files (which, as a structural and biomechanical engineer, I
> love to use)—I came across the references to TeX Live on the
> http://www.ams.org/tex/public-domain-tex.html#mac . I'm
> intrigued, and next will track down how to get the CD.

If you use debian (or ubuntu) linux you can get TL in packaged form.

> I don't know how much I could contribute to creating the next edition of TeX
> Live (I've created styles for papers, classes in advanced mechanics and
> finite element analysis, and newsletters, but nothing worthy of the TeX
> Showcase), but I'll gladly help to test it. (I've previously beta tested
> several programs through a number of versions, including Textures.)

I maintain a LaTeX style (implementing a proprietary design, so it
can't go on CTAN) used for a report series.  Since report authors are
scattered around the world it is important to me to check the style
with the TeX systems that authors actually use, including TL.

You raise an issue ("TSU has nothing that will process TeX files")
that is becoming a problem.   In my field, oceanography, many recent
PhD's have never encountered TeX, and know only the Windows OS family.
 Getting TeX into
Windows as a native application is an uphill battle, particularly in places that
rely on a checklist approach, e.g.:

    [  ] Vendor provides regular security updates.
    [  ] Uses departmental standard document formats (e.g., .doc, .xls)

There is also an attitude in N. America that public resources (e.g.,
the time and
energy of goverment and university scientists as well as government or
university computing sytems) should not be used to support open source
"in unfair competition with commercial products".

It is one thing for an individual to arrange to have TeX available on a personal
system, far different to (re-?) establish TeX as one of the tools that scientist
expect to be available as a matter of course.

Past experience has been that pre-release testing of TL on platforms
other than intel linux has been haphazard.   Windows installation in
particular is a problem because site policies vary widely (where I
work, users "HOME" directories are
on network drives, with the expectation that users can log onto any PC
and see the same environment).  In the past I used TL to provide a
environment across unix/linux/Windows, and I did (minimal) testing on
Windows and more testing on unix/linux.   I used the linux installer
to create a tree with binaries for all platforms on an NFS share, and
copied the relevant portions to
Windows, so never tested the Windows installer.  Now, due to the missing
tick in the above checkbox, TL has been replaced by MikTeX on Win32,
with a texmf tree maintained by MPM for unix/linux to ensure

In short, testing is needed and will be appreciated, but you should
consider investing some time ensring that TeX is more widely available
at your institution.
Are there other students and faculity who want to use TeX (e.g.,
journal or conference proceeding that requires (La)TeX?

Now that many publishers have offloaded the tasks of preparing
illustrations and typesetting onto authors, there is a need for
universities to include these topics.
In my experience, preparing publications has become a major stressor both for
young scientists preparing their first publication and for older
scientists with long lists of publications who now find they must
provide text and figures in electronic form.

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

More information about the tex-live mailing list