Web lists-archives.com

Re: is xdvi broken?

On 2019.04.19 20:24, David Wright wrote:
But it's interesting to see that you're (still) using a DVI workflow:
any particular reason for this? I suspect a majority are using one of
the direct-to-PDF workflows, like pdflatex or lualatex.

I use this workflow simply because it is the only Linux workflow with which I am familiar. Migration to Linux was motivated by one of the few genuine Y2K bugs; MS Word 5.0 for DOS, which was the last rodent-free version, began writing garbage to the document file. I abandoned multiple dozens of document files after searching without success for a means of exporting a document such that character-level attributes such as italic and boldface were preserved. The cost of editing and proofreading to manually restore character-level attributes made recovery impractical.

My workflow back then was (1) composition on a DOS machine, (2) floppy transfer via sneakernet to a Windows machine, (3) typesetting in Aldus Pagemaker, (4) hardcopy with a dot-matrix printer, (5) proofreading, (6) revision on the DOS machine.

I began with Debian Potato. That necessitated transporting the computer system to a beginning-of-semester Installfest at a local university. There a kindly soul showed me the rudiments of running Emacs and LaTeX, together with magic of using xdvi to view the typeset document as composition progressed, without the necessity of hardcopy.

The documents I compose range in size from two or three pages to roughly a hundred pages. Some are destined for the Web, in which case I generate HTML for on-line viewing and PDF for visitors who wish to download and print a copy for study or to file. All documents need to be available in Postscript, for local printing and distribution by mail.

I employ all manner of LaTeX markup, with sections, subsections, subsubsections, and paragraphs, and I use enumerated lists, bulleted lists, and footnotes. Keeping everything straight necessitates that I constantly switch between the emacs screen and the xdvi screen as I compose.

A few months ago I learned about latexmk, and used it successfully with the -pcv option in Debian 8; that worked well, providing all the output files I need, in addition to an xdvi file which I use as I compose. But when I installed Debian 9, this instability problem appeared, making latexmk unusable.

How do you deliver this document? As a DVI, PS of PDF? Is it typical,
or are your other documents more dependent on particular methods of,
say, including graphics?

Graphics (line drawings) are needed only rarely. As I mention above, I need to deliver HTML, PDF, and PS, but I utilize DVI to approximate WYSIWYG composition.

But looking at just emacs, xdvi, and xterm running in separate
windows, I can't see any difference in their behaviour from what I
remember in the dim and distant past.  The one unusual (for me)
property of xdvi is that it rereads the input file whenever its window
is exposed, without needing a ^R keystroke.  I have no idea whether
this might interact with certain sorts of window manager.

Sadly, that property is not working on my Debian 9 system, and it is needed.

Again, things were running properly with Debian 8. Something changed when I installed Debian 9. While typing this reply, I just now realize that I installed Debian 9 on a different machine (this box), so the machine with the Debian 8 installation is still intact. Could there be something pathological in this hardware, such as memory going bad?