I overhead this on a mailing list a month ago.

I gave up using beamer since the new maintainers have broken a lot of things in beamer

Now TeXLive 2010 is out and I'd like to upgrade. But I'm nervous because I use beamer every day and I don't want to have to workaround new issues. I'd be interested to hear what others feel about beamer development and if they have had issues with upgrading.

Edit/Update I have updated beamer and it runs smoothly. In fact, a nagging bug that I had never gotten to working around was fixed. So the answer is yes, safe to upgrade. :-)

  • Maybe this is a CW question, as I'm not sure there is a 'right answer'?
    – Joseph Wright
    Oct 24 '10 at 20:40
  • @Joseph Wright: I tend to agree but I couldn't find the CW checkbox this time. Oct 24 '10 at 22:36
  • The CW checkbox has been disabled on all SE sites. Moderators still have the power to make questions CW. If you (Matthew) agree, we can do this. Oct 25 '10 at 7:51
  • @Andrew: that's fine. Oct 25 '10 at 11:54
  • 1
    I think this is probably not us, by the SO system generally. At the moment, the mods don't seem to be over-burdened I think :-)
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 2 '10 at 19:58

I don't use beamer, but it is always recommended to install new texlive besides the old one, if something broke in the new release you can easily fallback to the old one (on Linux/Unix it is a matter of changing PATH). Also, I'd take comments from that specific person with a grain of salt.

  • "I'd take comments from that specific person with a grain of salt." Any reason in particular?
    – TH.
    Oct 24 '10 at 12:40
  • 2
    I don't want this to turn into name calling, but his past actions and public posts in mailing lists shows that such comments are usually exaggerated and can be ignored most of the time. Oct 24 '10 at 14:05
  • Ah, okay.
    – TH.
    Oct 24 '10 at 20:35

Okay, I'm one of 'the new maintainers', but to date there have not really been a lot of significant changes in the sense of "let's rewrite this entire section of the code". There have been fixes for specific problems, some of which have been floating around on the internet for some time and were simply waiting for an 'official' route into beamer.

That said, there is always a risk when you change a piece of code that there are other effects you didn't think of/test for. I know that at least one issue came up that way as a result of a fix I added to beamer. Of course, once this was reported I went back and thought again, but I'm not going to say that there are no problems lurking. I don't know exactly which version went into the DVD version of TeX Live 2010, so you may have to do an on-line update to get the version with all of these fixes sorted out.

I tend to 'suck it and see' with updates, but I realise that no everyone is in a position to take that attitude. Khaled's approach is a good one, but if you only want to know about beamer then you can grab the code directly from CTAN and put it into your local texmf directory. That will let you do testing on the update without any other changes. Then you can test knowing that reverting it is only a case of deleting the local installation of beamer.

What I would say is that, at least for me, beamer is working properly: I use it too, so if it was broken for me I'd be straight on to sorting it out. That's true of most packages from most developers: we also tend to be users of our own work.

  • 2
    Maintainers who say "there is always a risk when you change a piece of code that there are other effects you didn't think of/test for" inspire confidence in me. Oct 25 '10 at 8:45
  • I'm sorry if my honesty worries you :-) However hard I test there are always things I miss, do not expect, etc. beamer is pretty complicated, and automated tests are not easy to set up. Suggestions are of course welcome.
    – Joseph Wright
    Oct 25 '10 at 9:36
  • 1
    Joseph: No, I'm being perfectly serious. I wish all maintainers of free software had similar caution about updates. Oct 25 '10 at 10:08
  • One problem as a LaTeX developer is that it's not so easy to find people who will test for you. The community of users tends to be people using stuff in TeX Live or MiKTeX. I'm lucky that for siunitx there is a user who's willing to do testing and report on problems, edge cases and the like. That's not always the case, so a formal 'write-alpha-correct-beta-correct-release' cycle is not really feasible.
    – Joseph Wright
    Oct 25 '10 at 10:39
  • I appreciate your honesty and I hope I didn't offend. I was trying to figure out which way the wind was blowing on beamer, and nobody here seems to share the concerns of the person I quoted. I will be upgrading when I get the chance. Oct 25 '10 at 11:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.