[OS X TeX] /usr/local/texprograms -> /Library/ActiveTeXPrograms

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Nov 30 11:11:16 EST 2006

Le 30 nov. 06 à 11:52, Jérome Laurens a écrit :

> More seriously, people having more than one distribution at the  
> same time, switching from one another, customizing each one are  
> more like geeks.

I fully agree with you. Personally I think the move towards having  
several TeX distributions installed in parallel is a mistake. That  
seems to mean more customizations to perform, more preferences to  
set, more esoteric notions to digest for a user being faced to TeX  
for the first time.

It feels like making TeX more difficult for many, just to satisfy the  
needs of a few. Who but a computer geek will need this (installing,  
trying and switching between several different distributions)? IMO  
the changes that are currently discussed will only make TeX feel more  
elitist for outsiders, and deter them from trying it. Ultimately that  
would just reinforce the opinion of TeX users as geeks a bit out of  
touch with real life. Something in line with the opinion mentioned  
yesterday in the thread "[OS X TeX] TeX and the wild wild world out  
there", of TeX users "as being overly precious about aesthetics".

On the other hand, the changes that are discussed are perfectly OK,  
and probably beneficial, so long as they can remain completely  
transparent to the user: namely, that a user could use TeX for years  
and have a fully functional setup without ever having to know that  
such a thing as a TeX distribution exists, without ever having to  
install a distribution by hand, without ever having to switch between  
distributions. Then one could have, to paraphrase the preface of the  
1st edition of "LaTeX: A Document Preparation System", both a  
comfortable family sedan that just works and fits the needs of the  
biggest crowd, and buried inside it a racing car that can be highly  
tuned for those that like to live on the edge.

I fear that, with the intended changes, newcomers will feel that  
having several TeX distributions installed in parallel is required  
for using TeX at all. I think that, should I be now a novice  
considering TeX and should I read this, then I would not even give it  
a second glance and I would instead look for another typesetting tool.

Bruno Voisin
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