Dip dip dip, my little ship

I just got the latest TUGboat, the communications of the TeX Users Group, and I’m a bit worried about how things are going in the world of TeX. TeX is a very powerful free typesetting system. I used it for my thesis back in 1992, and unlike any other wordprocessors from back then, my source files are still readable. I’ve been a TeXie ever since, landing a couple of jobs in publishing because of it, and spending a couple of years on the board of the UK TeX Users’Group.

What makes me worried is that they’re falling badly behind. The issue of TUGboat I got is dated 2002, even though it was typeset in 2003. The content is one large article, Formatting Information, by Peter Flynn. This article is freely available for download elsewhere, and while it’s a very good tutorial, and nice to have a paper copy, it does strike me that the TUG board are scratching about a bit for content.

A subscription to TUG is not inexpensive. Yes, you get the TeX Live CDs every year, but they’re an hour’s download on home broadband. TeX is a great system, but if I were subscribing as a new user, I’d find it hard to justify joining TUG.

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