[OS X TeX] installing from TeXLive
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.
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