[tex-live] TL'10 pretest trial

Philip Taylor (Webmaster, Ret'd) P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Mon Jul 5 08:17:26 CEST 2010

Dear Reinhard, et al --

I appreciate the fact that you have taken the trouble to look
at my message : I would just like to respond to a couple
of particular points :

> Phil, I just looked into the HTML sources.  Please note that the word
> "location" is set in italics.  So it's clear that it's a placeholder.

Yes, I see it in italics (just : I am using Palatino Linotype because
at the moment my primary preoccupation is preparing an ASP.NET
web form with embedded Greek), and I fully understood it was
a placeholder : but I anticipated that it was a placeholder for
a <location>, not for a prefix ("-location ") and /then/ a <location>.
That is the primary fault with that syntax.  And "In the case of
the installer package" really does just add confusion : if the page
is talking about "install-tl" (and it would seem that it is), then
why mention it at all, particularly by a different name ?  The whole
prose is about "install-tl", so why (a) mention it at this point, and
(b) confuse things by calling it "the installer package" ?

> Because the author of mirmon decided so.  It's probably done this way
> in order to save space, and I must admit that I dislike horizontal
> scrollbars in web pages too.

Surely you don't think that replacing (e.g., ) www.math.utah.edu
by  http://www.math.utah.edu/pub/texlive/tlpretest/ would cause
horizontal overflow ?  And WTF is the "@" sign doing there : /it/
dereferences to http://www.math.utah.edu/, so we have the insane
situation where www.math.utah.edu dereferences to
http://www.math.utah.edu/pub/texlive/tlpretest/ and "@" dereferences
to http://www.math.utah.edu/ : I cannot imagine a less intuitive or
more confusing way of presenting such material.

> Windows is a pain.  Nothing works as expected.

On Windows, if I want to type a file, I type "type filename";
if I want a directory listing, I type "dir"; if I want help, I type
"help".  All work exactly as expected.  What do I do on Unix ?
I type "cat filename" to type a file; "ls" to get a directory listing;
and "man" to get some help.  Are you really suggesting that
these commands do what I would expect from their names ?????
I would expect "cat" to have something to do with Felix domesticus,
"man" with Homo sapiens, and as for "ls" I would have no expectations
at all and assume it was simply a typo.

(don't answer that : let's stick to TL 2010)

> The MS-DOG API supported forward slashes and backslashes from the
> beginning.  So, what is so wrong with forward slashes.

What is wrong with forward slashes is that they are (a) not what
Windows users expect; (b) not what Windows users would type
when entering a path; and (c) not understood by the CLI.
So if I enter (e.g.,) "E:\TeX\Live\Common\TeXMF\VAR"
and then this is re-presented by the installer as
"E:/TeX/Live/Common/TeXMF/VAR", I can't copy that string
and use it within CMS in any meaningful way.

> Be happy that the TeX Live installer supports Windows at all.

Why ? Windows is /the/ preferred platform, used by more people
than any other operating system in the world; why should I
be grateful that it is supported by the TeX Live installer ?  If
I were running CP/M, then I would indeed be grateful; if I were
running OS/360, I would be grateful, but I am running the world's
most popular and widely used operating system, so I think it
is not unreasonable to expect that it will be supported by
packages such as TeX Live.

** Phil.

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