Vincent Lefevre on Sat, 19 Jan 2008 18:05:50 +0100

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Re: documentation in PDF?

On 2008-01-19 12:54:32 +0100, Bill Allombert wrote:
> On Sat, Jan 19, 2008 at 12:27:50PM +0100, Vincent Lefevre wrote:
> > OK, but why isn't docpdf the default (instead of doc)?
> > 
> > Also, even if "make docpdf" is used, "make install" installs the
> > dvi/ps versions, not the pdf ones.
> The issue is that if you build from source on a unix system, you might:
> 1) have a old TeX installation which is not able to build pdf
> or
> 2) not have xpdf installed.
> On the other hand you will have xdvi installed because it is part of
> a TeX distribution.

I'm not sure that many users of binary distributions (e.g. Debian)
have a TeX distribution (thus xdvi), whereas almost all of them have
a PDF viewer, as PDF is nowadays a very common format.

> Also xdvi is generally be much faster than a PDF reader.

This depends on the PDF viewer. Some PDF viewers are as fast as xdvi
with better output quality. The interface of PDF viewers may also be
better (e.g. to select the zoom or to search for some text).

xdvi also has its drawbacks:
  * Under Mac OS X, it isn't easily usable since it needs the X server,
    whereas there is no such problem with PDF.
  * xdvi has important display problems. For instance, it truncates
    refcard.dvi on the right when zooming to much (zooming is sometimes
    necessary, just to make the characters big enough so that they are

Then, if the user typed "make docpdf", then this means that he wants
the PDF files and there should be a way to install them.

Also, modern software provides PDF doc with hyperlinks, which can be
very useful.

Vincent Lefèvre <> - Web: <>
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Work: CR INRIA - computer arithmetic / Arenaire project (LIP, ENS-Lyon)