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Re: [Texmacs-dev] Re: presentation mode bugs

From: Stéphane Payrard
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] Re: presentation mode bugs
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 21:29:34 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.3.28i

On Thu, May 30, 2002 at 10:28:48PM +0200, Joris van der Hoeven wrote:
> On Thu, 30 May 2002, Stéphane Payrard wrote:
> > On Thu, May 30, 2002 at 09:58:06PM +0200, Joris van der Hoeven wrote:
> > > 
> > > No problem, either Gtk or Qt will be fine.
> > > Did you consider porting to Gdk first?
> > > 
> > 
> > I know we will need it, notably for the Windows port. 
> And for other reasons from my message a few days ago.
> > But right now, I am more concerned by the more higher level issue to
> > have a high-level toolkit for improving the TeXmacs user interface
> > and using TeXmacs as a widget.
> >
> > Anyway, I am concerned by Gdk because the event model has been moved
> > down that level. That means an adaptation of POE to hook at that level.
> I know that the high-level part is more exciting for you, but I think
> that you will be more efficient if you start with the low-level part.
> Also, reasonably speaking, the high-level part can only be included
> in the main distribution, when the low-level part has been finished.
> Unfortunately, in most large programs, there is at most 50% interesting
> code and at least 50% boring code...

Suffering of a serere skin disease with a big rash these last days, I
hate to use the esr image, but it is the accepted one, so let's us it:
Open Source advances because each one scratch its own itch and
evetually most needs are satisfied. By any norms, this is a very strange
way to proceed, but it has been proved effective in many cases.

Due to your mathematical background, your itch is to generate (better
than) LaTeX quality papers with a wyisyg interface and you are almost
there.  But, as hinted by the less positive feedback from Slashdot,
TeXmacs is trapped in a symdrome like Betamax/VHS .  Betamax was
better but came too late.  People uses existing inferior tools,
including hand-written LaTeX or lyx and don't see the point to to go
thru the pain to change their habits to move to another tools.

To find a sufficient following you need to be incredibly better than
the competition.  To achiveve this goal, I know there is a lot of
low-level "boring" problems  to be solved. And you are irritated
that I don't care about them when you are so eager to solve them.

But my itch is different, I want a very powerful text widget with
powerful rewriting capability. Currrently, to my knowledge, TeXmacs as
it is with the fortcoming added value of Allouche's work seems to me
the best/only bet for me.

Now another story, Sun devised Java for embedded devices. They went
aroud the world to sell their idea and it was a total and dismal
failure.  Eventually, for lack of better idea, they released it as a
toy browser and as a plug-in for existing browsers. At this time the
web world was primitive and java added interactivity, movement and
color. This was a dubious but flashy gadget but  an instant hit. Eventually it
became a mainstream language and found its way in embedded devices
(where Sun can probably make real money).

The morale of the story is that you should not be too patronizing and
encourage people with very different interests and goals than yours as
long they use and improve TeXmacs.  Their contribution may or may not
acceptable as part you main distribution, but in the end, I am sure
some of them will help the TeXmacs cause if only by changing the
current damaging perception: "TeXmacs is a tool that combines the
complexity of TeX and emacs. Just I need to type my term paper that
was due last week. :( "

Probably the best thing that can happen to TeXmacs is a tool that does
not use the TeXmacs name while aknowledging loudly that the
work-hourse is the TeXmacs widget (even by another name, in this case
aknowledging the TeXmacs project itself)

Despite the decades old Xerox claim, computers is manly used to spit papers
and the best claim for TeXmacs is probably not to be able to do only the

I love TeXmacs and his current contributors, but not for the same
raison you do, so I dont have the same priority. So excuse me
not to live to your exceptations.


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