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Re: Program structure of Pstricks, what is its basic structure?


From: R . H . Allen
Subject: Re: Program structure of Pstricks, what is its basic structure?
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 12:54:31 -0500

On 22 Feb 2004 19:53:00 -0800, address@hidden
(Crashedandburnt) wrote:

>Herbert Voss <address@hidden> wrote in message news:<c1a78u$6bm$01
>
>> The problem is, that there is no documentation about this
>> low level structure.
>
>I am sorry to report a telephone conversation that I had some years
>ago with
>the author of this package. I vaguely remember his exact name, Timothy
>van zandt or sth like that. But what I clearly remember is that he was
>some kind of
>economist and wrote this package to write his book(s). He said that
>Leslie Lamport has made millions from his LaTeXbook and he expects
>[big] money for his package.

I have a hard time believing he said that, considering that his last
update to PSTricks apparently came seven years ago and two other people
have been maintaining it since then.

>He said that he has not released
>documentation on the package and will not release the documentation on
>how it works.

Oh, but he has! One must be careful using it, though, as the current
maintainers have made some changes that supersede parts of van Zandt's
original documentation. There isn't documentation explaining why he uses
each and every Postscript command, but there is documentation for the
TeX commands that assemble the Postscript code. It includes enough
information that even a rudimentary Postscript programmer like me can
usually figure out what the code is doing.

>Unless there is real
>free software, with good documentation on its usage and implemenation,
>it is not free software, but a virus software.

I didn't pay a dime for my fully legal TeX installation and learned how
to use it entirely from free, online documentation sources. I later
chose to buy a book because it was more convenient than printing and
carrying a huge binder full of online documentation, and it was money
well spent. That's quite the opposite of my experience with a lot of GNU
software. Based on your definition, that would make GNU the virus
software from my perspective (though I don't really feel that way).
While I'm happy to hear that GNU is finally putting decent documentation
together, I certainly hope they will bind it and offer it for sale at my
local bookstore, even if they do end up making millions (doubtful).

>If a group of volunteers want to save TeX/LaTeX, what is needed is to

Is it just me, or in the past 6 months or so have there been an usual
number of people who aren't regular posters in comp.text.tex barging in
to explain how to "save" TeX/LaTeX?

alan


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