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

From: Joris van der Hoeven
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] Re: presentation mode bugs
Date: Fri, 31 May 2002 23:48:51 +0200 (MET DST)

> > 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:

I am sorry to hear about that and wish you to get better soon.

> 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.

I know and that is good.

> Due to your mathematical background, your itch is to generate (better
> than) LaTeX quality papers with a wyisyg interface and you are almost
> there.

No, that is step one. I foresee many other possible steps,
but I am forced to be patient and to implement things one by one.

> But, as hinted by the less positive feedback from Slashdot,

We lack of a good publicity campaign.
At the moment, we are good programmers, but bad campaigners.

> 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.

I know and that is why I soon want to add some features which
the other tools can achieve only with great difficulty.

> 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.

No, I am not irritated at all. I only remember that you told
me that you wanted to make a nice contribution to a free software
project *and* validate this contribution. I just had the impression
that you somehow felt that the current way of doing things
left you off the road and that you were demotivated by that.
Therefore, I wanted to give you a hint about, what I think,
would be a more efficient way to contribute, even for the goals
that you are searching to achieve. If you do not want to go this way,
I am not offended or irritated, but I just do not see how I can
help you.

> 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.

Yes, that is one possible bet among others and
certainly a bet which is very valuable to 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).

Yes, I know that we can make a library out of TeXmacs. This is also
a future plan, but it is hard to achieve in the present state.

> 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.

But that is precisely what I try to do. By the way: do you precisely know
what are my goals? Maybe some of them coincide with your goals.
However, our calendars don't seem to match...

> Their contribution may or may not
> acceptable as part you main distribution,

You are changing the intention of my words:
I thought it would motivate you more to see your code being
incorporated into the main distribution. Therefore, I proposed
my view on what kind of code can be integrated in an easy way soon.

> 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. :( "

I am not sure that this is the perception which harms most the adoption
of TeXmacs; I actually believe that this may be true for programmers,
but certainly not for users. On the contrary, users find TeXmacs very easy
to use and they think that the main lacks are standardization (LaTeX/XML),
a port to Qt/Kde/Windows, and a drawing tool.

> 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)

Maybe, but this is a long term project. Once again, I think that we will
need at least a year before we can think about making TeXmacs a library.

> 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
> same.
> 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.

I do not have many expectations, because I don't hear much from you.
I had the impression that you were demotivated for a reason that
I don't even know of. I thought that if there would be an easy way
to get you more motivated, then we might try that. So I was just
checking if there was anything that I could do. Apparently not,
but I may be wrong. Don't hesitate to let us know on how you
feel about this and what your plans are.

Best wishes, Joris

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