[tex-k] crippled TeX package

pierre.mackay at comcast.net pierre.mackay at comcast.net
Mon Jul 20 02:10:43 CEST 2009

I have been spending the last several hours trying to restore my TeX environment on a newly hatched FC10 linux. That comes with TeX included, 
and one of my first jobs was supposed to be to create a compatible bplain.fmt. No can do. I spent two hours studying the Byzantine byways of fmtutil, (which probably has a lot going for it in the Windows world), and looking for an indication of what had been done to hide initex. The answer turned out to be that there is no initex and no virtex despite the fact that I loaded the developer modules. 

This is not good. The result of running fmtutil in the absence of initex is nothing at all---no warnings, nothing. That is the sort of thing that gives 
TeX a bad name. 

In a Linux environment, "initex" followed by three simple lines is all you need, 
but I intend to try fmtutil just for the experience, once I have an initex and a virtex. I do not think that any TeX package ought to be considered functional unless it includes initex and virtex, (that was a problem with the original Addison-Wesley TeX for the PC) but if there is some reason for leaving them out, then at least fmtutil should notify the user that the reason there will be no output is that there is nothing to put it out. 

Pierre MacKay 
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