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Re: [AUCTeX] ConTeXt MkIV Support

From: Tobias Berndt
Subject: Re: [AUCTeX] ConTeXt MkIV Support
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2016 09:55:47 +0000

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Tobias Berndt
Technischer Redakteur

baramundi software AG
Beim Glaspalast 1
86153 Augsburg


Fon: +49 (821) 5 67 08 -  577
Fax: +49 (821) 5 67 08 - 19

Vorstand: Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Uwe Beikirch | Dipl.-Kfm. Karl Scheid
Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender: Dipl.-Ing. Univ. (TUM) Norbert Klump
Sitz und Registergericht: Augsburg, HRB-Nr. 2064 | USt-IdNr. DE 210294111
-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: David Kastrup [mailto:address@hidden
Gesendet: Freitag, 9. September 2016 10:21
An: Tobias Berndt <address@hidden>
Cc: Arash Esbati <address@hidden>; auctex <address@hidden>
Betreff: Re: [AUCTeX] ConTeXt MkIV Support

Tobias Berndt <address@hidden> writes:

> please, do not misunderstand me. I have a quite clear idea of what it
> means to develop free software.

I am skeptical about that.

... feel free (skepticism seems to be a kind of hobby to you, anyway ;)

> I know, you guys are spending a lot of time and efforts maintaining
> such a big thing as Emacs' AucTeX. There are small budgets, you all
> having regular jobs and your private lifes and not all the time of the
> world. Most of your work has been done unpaid, just for the big goal
> itself---providing this wonderful TeX help system for Emacs: AucTeX!

Uh, wrong?  By far most of non-mainstream Free Software is developed entirely 
without a budget and not because of some fuzzy idea of philanthropy but because 
of an actual personal need.  Ongoing maintenance and project leadership tends 
to develop in the context of personal relations and feeling connected to a 

But what you are asking about is a complete format support to be brought up to 
scratch.  If you, as an active user of it, are not invested enough to attempt 
doing it, why would you expect existing AUCTeX users who are not actually using 
Context to be so?

(1) exactly: It was a question (with possible answers NO and YES; and I 
understood "no"---the rest is just an interesting discussion ... I thought) not 
a demand.

(2) "not invested enough to attempt doing it" ... I am curious: What, in your 
opinion, could I do to be "invested enough"?

In the end, it does not matter just how ardently you believe what somebody else 
really should be doing.  Viable and convincing support for Context users will 
not originate from anybody but Context users.

Wrong interpretation/understanding (maybe my poor English): I'm far away to 
believe "ardently" anything (just not that kind of person). AND I'm not telling 
anyone what to do! No idea, how that comes in your mind?

AUCTeX has only ever be really convincing in the context of LaTeX, and that's 
because almost exclusively LaTeX users were working with it.

Its plain TeX modes are not really convincing.  The Texinfo mode seems actually 
rather workable (I'm not sure how much of it is actually borrowed from Emacs 
proper).  Context mode is rudimentary at best.

And this will not change without any active Context user taking up the ball.  
Other than that, there will only be window dressing changes.

If you are a LaTeX user, AUCTeX is good enough a reason to get acquainted with 
Emacs even if you are not old-school.  And of course, if you want to work with 
Texinfo, there is not much of a useful alternative to Emacs (whether you use 
AUCTeX or not) as a syntax aware editor.

But for other TeX formats, AUCTeX is not strong enough as a "ok, I'll learn 
Emacs" argument and it will take some dedicated Context user to change that for 
Context.  Once you reach that stage, you'll likely manage to attract a few 
other contributors by and by.

But that's not there yet, and sweet-talking existing developers who aren't into 
Context is not going to lead there.

... nice :)

>>>Let me put it this way: Are you willing to ask the ConTeXt community
>>>if there is enough demand to crowdfund ConTeXt MkIV support in
>>>AUCTeX?  If there is a demand, we can look after a person who can do
>>>the job.
> No, I cannot do that because I am not an active member of the ConTeXt
> community (do not get me wrong this time: I'm not a ConTeXt fan; I
> just like/use its possibilities to do my work). What I can do is: If
> my company let me, I'll go to the next ConTeXt Meeting by the end of
> this month. There is a guy named Harald König. He is one of the
> ConTeXt developers, I guess, and he is an Emacs hacker (and probably
> good enough in programming LISP). Hence I could ask him to get in
> touch with you.

You'll have a hard time convincing me that Harald is not aware of the existence 
of AUCTeX and the state of its Context support.  He's been in plenty of AUCTeX 
talks when I still was still doing them.  So you'll have to ring up some really 
convincing arguments to get him involved.

??? What are you talking about? I mean, really: I will surly not having any 
hard time to convince you, because: I NEVER SAID HARALD WOULD NOT HAVE HEARD OF 
AUCTEX! Nor I said, he wouldn't be involved in AucTeXs development stage. What 
I did say, was: Since he has knowledge in both, Emacs and ConTeXt, I could ask 
him, whether or not he want to establish contact to you guys. If you already 
knows him---fine.

It's most certainly not a matter of "there is this great project you probably 
never heard of that you were just waiting to join".

Noone said that! Dave---please---read my texts before you come out with such 

Context is not new, AUCTeX is not new.  Consequently rounding up the usual 
suspects is not likely to make a difference, no matter how much you want to 
believe that they are somehow infused with some angelic essence making them 
better suited to delve into your interests and work than you are.

... uhhh: " some angelic essence", this little cynicism in your words---just 
marvellous! Summery: You think, there have to be ConTeXt users, to get the 
whole thing running. Got that.

>>>Given how many people in the maths community still use LaTeX 2.09,
>>>which should have been *dead* for some, I don't know, fifteen years
>>>or so - I seriously doubt that they will switch anytime soon.
> Since their only real interest in TeX is typesetting math, why they
> should be interested in switching to ConTeXt? They don't care about
> web formats, animated PDFs, interactive contents, document management,
> databases, program language support, METAFUN, clever text tools &c.pp.
> Just for typesetting math, even I would stay with LaTeX!

He was not talking LaTeX, but LaTeX2.09.  That has been superceded by LaTeX2e 
in 1994.

Thank you.

> I really understand: Resources of time will be wisely managed within
> free software projects.

In most projects they are not managed at all since there _are_ no resources to 
manage.  Some people want to do something, and they do it. But nobody is in the 
position to tell people what they should be doing,

AND AGAIN: ... and nobody did!

so there is no management.  Or rather, it consists in telling people what they 
should _not_ be doing since it would be detrimental to the code base or project 

> And popularity plays a certain role. But such projects succeeded not
> least because of the ravages of time, being up-the-date also with
> modern---not that popular yet---alternatives.

Smart talk won't get the job done.  If it did, I'd be emperor of the world.

... even if it could, you wouldn't.

Have a nice day,

David Kastrup

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