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Re: Patch to INSTALL.CVS to clarify why `make bootstrap' sometimes fails

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Patch to INSTALL.CVS to clarify why `make bootstrap' sometimes fails.
Date: Sun, 08 Jun 2008 11:32:23 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Eli Zaretskii <address@hidden> writes:

> Not for status quo, for knowing thy tools, and for personal
> soul-searching _before_ blaming ``broken tools'' and ``broken build
> processes''.

As maintainer of AUCTeX and preview-latex (the latter being particularly
insidious with regard to the things it is messing with) I found that
after a while the excitement about having software be a testing stone
for the users' intelligence and yourself being correct wears off.  After
tripping up enough of them, never mind how much it is their fault not to
mind their step, you move.  Sooner or later.  Doing it sooner is more
efficient in the long run.

Never mind that it's all somebody else's fault.  For example,
preview.sty will in certain situations issue the following stern

    Your document class has a bad definition^^J
    of \string#1, most likely^^J
    which has now been changed to^^J
    because otherwise subsequent changes to \string#2^^J
    (like done by several packages changing float behaviour)^^J
    can't take effect on \string#1.^^J
    Please complain to your document class author}%

We got a bug report every few months about yet another document class
written or derived from an old buggy code base that tripped up also
other packages.  It has been a lot of effort to teach people what is
wrong and have it reported upstream.  Most of the upstream reports had
no satisfactory followup.  Now of course, _we_ were right.  But it did
not help.  The above code then takes a crowbar and smashes things in a
certain way, assuming that they are broken in a certain way when it
decides that they could not possibly work otherwise.

We did not get a single report after that.  People don't care as long as
they get through somehow.

Don't turn the act of working with your software into an educational
enterprise.  Nobody will thank you for that.  Deal with the stupidity,
ignorance and lethargy of the world in general and move on.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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