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When I stumbled upon tabu some time ago it looked quite interesting on a first glance and I intended to learn more about it when I have the time. But, in the comments section of this question posted on the new german question and answer site texwelt.de Herbert Voß wrote that the tabu package is obsolete in its current version (thereby citing the package author) and is not actively maintained anymore. What are the implications for the usability of the package? Should I refrain from investing time to learn tabu and consider some other packages for the creation of tables instead?

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See this discussion groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/comp.text.tex/xRGJTC74uCI/… – clemens Jun 30 '13 at 14:23
Can you add a link to H. Voß's answer? – egreg Jun 30 '13 at 14:35
@egreg it's in the comments to texwelt.de/wissen/fragen/446#447 (and in German obviously) – clemens Jun 30 '13 at 14:42
@cgnieder Thanks for the link. Apparently I googled for the wrong keywords as the linked thread makes my questions obsolete. If you make an answer out of it, I would accept it. And thanks for providing the link to the answer on texwelt.de :) – Philipp Jun 30 '13 at 14:42
The question is still old. What is the current state of tabu? And is there a alternative from the same developer now? – buhtz Feb 4 at 1:23
up vote 36 down vote accepted

In a thread on comp.text.tex the author of tabu stated that bug fixes to the current version (2.8) of tabu will not be taken under consideration:

Well, to be honest, the time of bug reports will come with the next release.

See Incompatibility between verbatim and tabu? (Danger of using \scantokens in a package) for the motivation of Bruno Le Floch's question.

I asked back

So you're telling that the current version of tabu is completely unmaintained?

The answer was

In three letters, with no ligature: yes!

To make the story short, here's an excerpt from a subsequent message (the first line is my question):

So old documents written with the previous commands of tabu will cease to work? Wonderful.

I don't care. I want to built tabulars without any measurement or guess, with a maximum of features and a powerful interface.

The conclusions I can draw is that using tabu in its current version is dangerous, because its author has announced incompatible changes for the next version. And he doesn't care if people using his package are thrown under the bus.

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The author wrote yesterday in the french group again that the current tabu version is unmaintained. The new version should appear at the end of the summer and will not be compatible (which doesn't mean that everything be different). – Ulrike Fischer Jun 30 '13 at 16:33
@UlrikeFischer The author has written "Less than 5% of the commands are the same between the next version and the uploaded one". (See google link above) So for me this means that (nearly) everything will be different. – Axel Sommerfeldt Jul 1 '13 at 7:16
@AxelSommerfeldt: The user interface is only a small part of all commands and "Ceci dit, la syntaxe de TabU est calquée sur celle de tabular, donc les changements de syntaxe ne concerneront que certaines commandes et clés," sounds for me as if the changes in the interface will not be so dramatic. – Ulrike Fischer Jul 1 '13 at 7:25
@UlrikeFischer SL: "3) Less than 5% of the commands are the same between the next version and the uploaded one" - Enrico Gregorio: "I hope not the user's interface commands." - GL: "Of course yes. Everything has been rewritten." – Axel Sommerfeldt Jul 1 '13 at 8:07
So, if the new tabu is that different, why not call it by a new name? The old package can remain unchanged and those dependent on it are no worse off than they are now. Those interested in the newer package can use it in newer work... or perhaps write a script to transform the old markup to the new. Hard to say how difficult that would be until the new package is available. – Hína Kemenduro Nov 21 '14 at 15:50

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