# 'Novel' package

As an author writing in a LaTex environment, using the novel package currently included in MacTex, I now understand that the package author (?) has withdrawn the package on the 7th May. However, the novel package currently still appears in downloads of MacTex. The package appears to be working normally for typesetting novels. So, my question is two-fold:

1. whether it is safe to continue using the novel package, or
2. has someone else picked up the development/maintenance of this package. The package author has removed the stub from Github and has written on here there will be no further development or maintenance of the package.

Many thanks, Ben

• Oh sorry, were you actually quoting someone else? I didn't notice that Ben in the text were different to your username. – Torbjørn T. Jul 3 '17 at 8:43
• Torbjørn T: My fault I used my pseudonym by mistake – Mike Jul 3 '17 at 8:45
• There are a lot of packages/classes that are inactive but are still available for use. It just means that there won't be any bug fixes or new features. They only tend to drop off the distributions if it turns out there's a problem with the licence or if they've been withdrawn because they're obsolete (and replaced with another package), which doesn't seem to be the case here. – Nicola Talbot Jul 3 '17 at 8:52
• I see no particular problem with novel.cls, apart from it being “orphaned”. The license notes are in place and it seems to comply with the free software standards. So I don't think it risks to be removed from TeX Live. – egreg Jul 3 '17 at 9:46

I (the original creator of this package) reviewed things, and discovered a minor bug in the documentation, and a major bug in how the code handles text tracking. Both have been fixed.

Minor doc bug: Correct command is \SetHeadFootStyle not \SetHeadStyle.

The text tracking bug will affect many users, as it is part of defaults. Apparently it was triggered by recent changes to either fontspec or microtype. The fix is expected to be permanent, even if there are other changes to those packages. Users who encountered the bug may have gotten an obscure halt message involving MT@res@a. The fix involved replacing \textls with \addfontfeature{LetterSpace=number} in the code.

EDIT: Version 1.38 (current version as I write this) has been successfully used to create a novel, and also (with GIMP) its cover art. The book was automatically reviewed for compliance and accepted on first attempt by a major American P.O.D. service. It is now in print. Almost all of the layout uses the package defaults, so that the Preamble is absurdly simple. My point: The "novel" document class really works.

ANOTHER EDIT: I have also revived the GitHub page: https://github.com/RobtAll/novel

• Thank you for this document class. Especially love the FAQ in the example document. :-) It appears that people are leaving comments on the CTAN page because it was removed from GitHub (the link referred to in an earlier version of the documentation no longer works). It appears that CTAN is really not a good place to leave the official version of a package these days (sadly), e.g. as “documentation” it links to just the first HTML file instead of all of them (and the rest are hard to find). – ShreevatsaR Aug 29 '17 at 17:55
• @ShreevatsaR Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe I will re-establish a GitHub account for this (later...). Now that I have a real novel out, I may re-write the html docs for better internal navigation. – user139954 Aug 29 '17 at 20:09
• @ShreevatsaR The GitHub account is restored. You can view each page of the HTML documentation (formatted, with images) by pasting its GitHub URL into htmlpreview.github.io but you can only do it one page at a time, as they do not cross-link. – user139954 Aug 29 '17 at 23:06
• @ShreevatsaR CTAN is the only place worth putting the official version of the package, whether maintained or not. The use of CTAN to access documentation is not its primary purpose or use. (That said, if the link could point to something better, please let the CTAN maintainers know.) Its primary purpose is what it says on the tin: it is an archive. It is the persistent source of contributions to TeX. It is also, of course, the basis for both MikTeX and TeX Live. It it is not on CTAN, it doesn't exist for 99.9999999999999999999% of users. (Conservative estimate.) – cfr Aug 30 '17 at 2:07
• @ShreevatsaR The package is, in fact, currently maintained. I am its author, and I maintain it. However, I am hoping that someone will take it over (at some future point). As cfr noted, CTAN is the official location, not GitHub. I did see the community comments on CTAN, which motivated me to continue maintenance. Also contacted a commenter by e-mail (got no reply). The only reason for using GitHub is to possibly post experimental code or additional non-TeX materials, not the official package. My e-mail is at the top of the novel.cls file. – user139954 Aug 30 '17 at 14:53