"`R notes' should be better"

Martin Maechler Martin Maechler <maechler@stat.math.ethz.ch>
Fri, 13 Mar 1998 09:41:30 +0100

>>>>> "KH" == Kurt Hornik <Kurt.Hornik@ci.tuwien.ac.at> writes:

>>>>> Martin Maechler writes:
    >> [CC'ed to R-devel, not R-help]
>>>>> "Bill" == Bill Simpson <wsimpson@uwinnipeg.ca> writes:

    Bill> Thanks very much Douglas for the pointer to nlm.  Maybe the
    Bill> "Notes on R" maintainer can add at least a mention of nlm in the
    >> ======================
    Bill> section on nonlinear fitting?

    Bill> .....

    Bill> (This example could replace the current nonlinear fitting section
    Bill> in "Notes on R")

    >> You are talking of <CRAN>/doc/Rnotes.ps, or Rnotes.tgz respectively,
    >> yes?

    >> The first page states both R & R as authors (beside Venables &
    >> D.Smith).  However, I doubt if they consider themselves as
    >> 'maintainers' of these notes (due to lack of time), or do you?

    >> Ross?  Robert?

    >> The problem is that these notes need more work than just ('nls' <->
    >> 'nlm').

    >> Maybe I should ask again for volunteers, or maybe even a discussion
    >> on what could / should be done.

    >> The notes have several sections (organized in different *.tex files)
    >> in Rnotes.tgz.  Could(/should) we have different authors
    >> (ie. volunteers from among you) for these sections?

    >> About a year ago or so, Kurt Hornik proposed that these notes should
    >> become chapter 1 -- n of ``the book'' where the current things in
    >> RHOME/doc/manual/Man.tex are just the appendices (they already *are*
    >> appendices, currently).  R & R instead, originally thought (and have
    >> also started ??) of completely rewriting from scratch these chapters
    >> (1 -- n).

    >> Which should be done (and by whom) ?

    >> In the case of "R notes upgrading, it'd make sense if someone first
    >> works thru the current notes and makes them (somewhat)
    >> ``compatible'' with the Rd.sty that we currently use for the
    >> help-manual (i.e. the doc/manual/... things).

    KH> We DEFINITELY need to do something about R notes very soon.  The
    KH> 0.61 tree should be frozen by this weekend, 0.62 needs the bug
    KH> fixes that we know of, the re-implementation of factors (asap,
    KH> please!) and docs for the new graphics things (dev.xxx), but that's
    KH> about it, I would say (we can have the `real' make install things
    KH> later).
there are a few more graphic things..  [  par(par()) should work.. ]

    KH> Working on Rnotes should at least come right after that.

    KH> I am no longer sure about LaTeX and my suggestion from about a year
    KH> ago, though.  I would more be in favor of having a Texinfo version

Really?  I have to admit (my first reaction) that I wouldn't want to drop
all the LaTeX niceties [starting with "math", "real" tables (tabular), ...]

    KH> as I could also use this on-line via info, but perhaps everyone
    KH> else thinks that I should use now-free Netscape for doing that (my
    KH> experience is that the conversion Texinfo -> HTML is trivial
    KH> whereas I am never sure about latex2html or hyperlatex).
For me, latex2html has been quite satisfactory, as long as I am willing to
spend some time hand editing the result
(after the hand e

My feeling is that  latex2html  is really being improved and extended,
(being very configurable) constantly which is not/[much less] true for texinfo.
Also, AUC-tex (with font-latex) as the emacs interface to latex is such a
beauty compared to texinfo mode...

And then there's  PDFtex which produces foo.pdf instead of foo.dvi
where everything (ref/label, cite, index, tableofcontents, ...)
is linked with everything [but pdftex is alpha/beta,...].

Maybe, the main point should be:
	>>>>>> How are these notes used? <<<<
  If ``most of the time: on paper'',	  I think I'd prefer latex to texinfo
  If ``substantially: via Web browser'',  maybe texinfo is better.

    KH> In any case, I perhaps could try to go through Rnotes sometimes
    KH> this weekend to find out what most urgently needs fixing.
ok, thank you in advance.

Ross / Robert:	PLEASE we need some statement from you about this!
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