Ex Bibliotheca

The life and times of Zack Weinberg.

Wednesday, 21 August 2002

# 7:05 AM

a collection of thoughts

Depressing to discover, via a series of endless threads on debian-legal, that LaTeX and possibly even TeX itself may have to be considered not free software. The LaTeX developers have apparently decided that consistency across installations is more important than freedom. This is the exact same philosophical difference that makes, e.g. qmail not DFSG compliant. The problem is, while there are good alternatives to qmail, there really aren't good alternatives to LaTeX. (All you troff fans can go ahead and flame me now.)

I normally don't have much interest in Wired magazine — it plays around far too much with form for the content to be readily accessible. But some of their recent content is indeed worth reading. Here's an article about a real, honest-to-ghu bionic eye; another one on the water crisis in central Asia; one on Europe's GPS clone; and finally, GM rethinking the whole "car" concept.

And check this out: a Bayesian spam filter, with solid theoretical reasons to believe it will work and keep working. Me want.

(If the first paragraph is unreadable turn CSS off. I tested it, it looks good in Mozilla, but I have this nagging feeling you're not supposed to do kerns like that.)