[OS X TeX] installing from TeXLive

Anthony Morton amorton at fastmail.fm
Sat Nov 18 06:00:05 EST 2006

> Well, of course, the wisdom of that judgment is just what's at issue. 
> :-)  What one finds bizarre or confusing is often just a matter of 
> what one is used to, but it's not even clear there *would* have been 
> much for ordinary users to get used to had Apple kept case sensitivity 
> -- it's not as if the mere ability to introduce filenames differing 
> only in case would have suddenly inclined users to do so.

No - but you'd have a fair few cases of people wondering why they 
seemed to have two files with the same name in the same folder, until 
you carefully pointed out to each one that they'd used different 
capitalisation at some time when saving the file.

The point is that in ordinary English the distinction between uppercase 
and lowercase doesn't carry semantic weight - it's a matter of 
typographical convention.  The
exact same word is rendered as 'Report' when it begins a sentence and 
'report' when it doesn't, so when you use it as a file name should it 
be 'Report' or 'report'?

Gerben brought up the case of trading names with idiosyncratic 
capitalisation, and indeed there's a marginal benefit in being able to 
distinguish NEXT (clothing) from NeXT (computers).  However, that still 
doesn't help me in my own line of work distinguish Econnect 
(engineering consultants) from Econnect (communications equipment).  
And it's a double-edged sword.  There's a German software company that 
calls itself DIgSILENT, and blowed if I can remember the precise 
capitalisation every time I want to refer to it.  I don't want to wind 
up with a bunch of directories called 'DIgSILENT', 'DigSilent', 
'Digsilent' and 'DIGsilent' because I and those I collaborate with tend 
to get it wrong.  Sometimes case-insensitivity is a positive advantage.

Nonetheless, for expert users and some non-English speakers I can see 
case sensitivity does have its uses, and now Apple has relented I think 
we've got the right approach: you can have a case-sensitive filesystem 
but only if you really want one (which implies you know what you're 
doing and what behaviour to expect).

> With this, of course, I wholly agree.  But, e.g., an administrator 
> won't want to risk data loss just because one of his or her users 
> doesn't follow good practice.

Fair enough.  At the same time, this isn't the first or even the most 
serious instance where technology changes have made it necessary to 
discontinue previous 'bad' practices that were possible under earlier, 
more permissive platforms.

Tony M.
------------------------- Info --------------------------
Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
          & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list