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Re: About file formats (was Re: [Axiom-developer] First (quick & dirty)

From: michel . lavaud
Subject: Re: About file formats (was Re: [Axiom-developer] First (quick & dirty) port of Axiom to gcl-2.5.2 and powerpc architecture)
Date: Mon, 5 May 2003 20:30:29 +0200

Hello David,

> > Several issues arise including things like the fact that dvi files
> > don't support hyperlinks so some sort of a viewer needs to exist.
> DVI files does support hyperlinks. Just include the 'hyperref' (or
> 'hyperef'?) package at the beginning of the latex file.

I think that Tim is right : DVI files do not support hyperlinks (nor
color, nor rotations, nor inclusion of graphics etc.). The support is
provided by the dvi driver, which gets information from the dvi file
through a command \special{something}, and the driver interprets the
"something" as a set of actions, or ignores it.

> > Ideally this would be some standard viewer as we'd have less code
> > to maintain.
> Why not use the PDF file format. Substitute pdflatex instead of latex
> and bingo, you have a pdf output (of course, you must have installed
> necessary packages from your linux distro).

>From many bad experiences, I think the pdf format has the same advantages
and inconvenients with respect to dvi, as the doc format has with respect
to TeX : it is very convenient for short life documents, but not for long
life documents, as it is likely to be read differently (and thus
incorrectly) by the latest version of Acrobat Reader, and each version
brings lots of new bugs that may or may not be ever corrected. I have some
examples of characters perfectly displayed with one version of Acrobat
Reader, that disappeared with a next one, black characters on white
background that were transformed into white on black background, etc.

If Axiom is to last for 30 more years as Tim hopes, maybe it would be
better to try to stick to dvi, as far as possible ? Or do you see really a
possibility brought by pdf that would appear indispensable for Axiom and
pamphlet files that could not be realized with dvi (this is a question) ?

Best wishes,

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