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The UK TEX Users Group — a
personal history
Jonathan Fine
Retired from Open University, UK
Saturday 23 July 2022
jfine2358@gmail.com
https://jfine2358.github.io
No person is an island
No person is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every person is a piece
of the continent,
A part of the main.
UK TUG meeting, 2013 From UK TUG website
Where are we now? Geology.
We live in the ANTHROPOCENE, a proposed
new geological epoch. Now atmospheric CO2 and
global heating.
Future geological stratigraphy markers considered
include:
I Fly ash from fossil fuel combustion
I Microplastics
I Radioactivity
I Heavy metals
I Extinctions of many megafauna
I Abundance of chicken bones
Where are we now? Society.
We live in the DIGITAL REVOLUTION, a new
way of communicating.
Gutenberg’s movable type printing started the mass
production of data made from identical symbols.
Key features include
I Mobile phones (i.e. pocket computers)
I Digital networks
I Server and storage farms
I Virtual reality
I Machine learning / AI / Data Science
I Digital Typography (what we and others do)
About Jonathan Fine
I TEX user since 1989 (2MB RAM, 10MHz PC)
I Retired L
A
TEX expert (Open University, UK)
I Time now for math research, software,
accessibility, personal growth
I Parents born about 100 years ago
I US Civil War about 150 years ago
I French Revolution about 230 years ago
I My life expectancy is 17–20 years
About UK TUG
I Founded 1989, dissolved 2022
I Membership from 225 to 80.
I Prominent members include Peter Abbott (PA),
Kaveh Bazargan (KB), David Carlisle, Paulo Cereda,
Malcolm Clark (MC), David Crossland, Robin Fairbairns
(RF), Alan Jeffrey, Jonathan Kew, Sebastian Rahtz
(SPQR), Arthur Rosendahl, Chris Rowley, Philip Taylor,
Nicola Talbot and Joseph Wright.
I TUG Conferences: Aston 1993, Oxford 2000
I TUG Presidents: MC and KB
I Five L
A
TEX team members
More UK TUG highlights
I Aston CTAN Node: PA (1988), SPQR (1992)
I TEX FAQ (web and PDF): Robin Fairbairns
I L
A
TEX2.09 to 2: Carlisle + Rowley
I TEX, SGML and PDF meeting: (JF 1995)
I Baskerville magazine (edit + typeset SPQR)
I TEX Live (founded SPQR)
I Revival of UK TUG (JF 2006–2010)
I Terminal decline of UK TUG (2016–2022)
More UK TUG highlights
I Aston CTAN Node: PA (1988), SPQR (1992)
I TEX FAQ (web and PDF): Robin Fairbairns
I L
A
TEX2.09 to 2: Carlisle + Rowley
I TEX, SGML and PDF meeting: (JF 1995)
I Baskerville magazine (edit + typeset SPQR)
I TEX Live (founded SPQR)
I Revival of UK TUG (JF 2006–2010)
I Terminal decline of UK TUG (2016–2022)
From Knuth’s eulogy for SPQR (1955-2016)
SPQR was a major contributor to TeX for decades,
especially as the architect of the enormously popular
TeX Live distribution.
[O]ne of the main bridges between users of TeX in
academic circles and users of TeX in the real world.
Without his efforts thousands of publications would
have been poorer.
[Pleased to see] leaders of the digital humanities
enthusiastically enhancing the tools that I
developed, with [STEM] in mind.
Surely his legacy will live for a long time.
Jonathan Kew
Jonathan is the creator of XeTEXand TEXworks.
If time allows, expand from
https://tug.org/interviews/kew.html
My contributions
I Bridewell meeting
I Work with RF on TEX FAQ
I Write for, photocopy and snail-mail Baskerville
I LaTEX training day with London Math Society
I Revival of UK TUG (2006–2010)
I TUGboat: Editable dvi files or wysiwyg TEX
I TUGBoat: TEX as a callable function
I MathTran web service
A personal history of UK TUG
About the Bridewell meeting
I 19 January 1995
I History location: Fleet Street
I St Bride’s Church (Wren)
I Surplus of several thousand pounds
I Speakers David Barron, David Brailsford, JF,
Peter Flynn, Martin Keys, Geeti Granger and
Mike Popham.
I Capacity audience of 120
I Sadly, momentum was lost
I Perhaps 25 years on it can be renewed
My next 500 weeks (out of 950 expected)
I hope for 10 years of good health and vigour.
Mathematics
I My linear homology (involves Fibonacci 2358)
I June Huh et al matroids (2022 Fields Medal)
I Grothendieck dessins and algebraic numbers
Digital communication
I Elder and experience for TEX community
I Weekly TEX Hour (a place to share)
I Accessibility (our Achilles heel)
I Portable TEX Documents (another weakness)
TUG interviews, by Dave Walden
I https://tug.org/interviews/bazargan-cvr.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/carlisle.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/clark.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/fairbairns.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/fine.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/flynn.html (Irish)
I https://tug.org/interviews/kew.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/rahtz.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/talbot.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/taylor.html
I https://tug.org/interviews/wright.html
UK TUG meeting, 201? From UK TUG website
The windfall
TUG has a windfall of $5,000 from the
dissolution of TUG.
How to spend it is an agenda item for the
TUG AGM (4 hours from now).
Slides and notes from this talk will appear at
https://jfine2358.github.io. Or email me
jfine2358@gmail.com. Or join me at an online TeX
Hour.
For whom the bell
Any person’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in humanity,
And therefore never send to know
for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
From John Donne Devotions upon Emergent
Occasions (pub. 1624), in gender neutral language.

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A personal history of UK TUG

  • 1. The UK TEX Users Group — a personal history Jonathan Fine Retired from Open University, UK Saturday 23 July 2022 jfine2358@gmail.com https://jfine2358.github.io
  • 2. No person is an island No person is an island, Entire of itself, Every person is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.
  • 3. UK TUG meeting, 2013 From UK TUG website
  • 4. Where are we now? Geology. We live in the ANTHROPOCENE, a proposed new geological epoch. Now atmospheric CO2 and global heating. Future geological stratigraphy markers considered include: I Fly ash from fossil fuel combustion I Microplastics I Radioactivity I Heavy metals I Extinctions of many megafauna I Abundance of chicken bones
  • 5. Where are we now? Society. We live in the DIGITAL REVOLUTION, a new way of communicating. Gutenberg’s movable type printing started the mass production of data made from identical symbols. Key features include I Mobile phones (i.e. pocket computers) I Digital networks I Server and storage farms I Virtual reality I Machine learning / AI / Data Science I Digital Typography (what we and others do)
  • 6. About Jonathan Fine I TEX user since 1989 (2MB RAM, 10MHz PC) I Retired L A TEX expert (Open University, UK) I Time now for math research, software, accessibility, personal growth I Parents born about 100 years ago I US Civil War about 150 years ago I French Revolution about 230 years ago I My life expectancy is 17–20 years
  • 7. About UK TUG I Founded 1989, dissolved 2022 I Membership from 225 to 80. I Prominent members include Peter Abbott (PA), Kaveh Bazargan (KB), David Carlisle, Paulo Cereda, Malcolm Clark (MC), David Crossland, Robin Fairbairns (RF), Alan Jeffrey, Jonathan Kew, Sebastian Rahtz (SPQR), Arthur Rosendahl, Chris Rowley, Philip Taylor, Nicola Talbot and Joseph Wright. I TUG Conferences: Aston 1993, Oxford 2000 I TUG Presidents: MC and KB I Five L A TEX team members
  • 8. More UK TUG highlights I Aston CTAN Node: PA (1988), SPQR (1992) I TEX FAQ (web and PDF): Robin Fairbairns I L A TEX2.09 to 2: Carlisle + Rowley I TEX, SGML and PDF meeting: (JF 1995) I Baskerville magazine (edit + typeset SPQR) I TEX Live (founded SPQR) I Revival of UK TUG (JF 2006–2010) I Terminal decline of UK TUG (2016–2022)
  • 9. More UK TUG highlights I Aston CTAN Node: PA (1988), SPQR (1992) I TEX FAQ (web and PDF): Robin Fairbairns I L A TEX2.09 to 2: Carlisle + Rowley I TEX, SGML and PDF meeting: (JF 1995) I Baskerville magazine (edit + typeset SPQR) I TEX Live (founded SPQR) I Revival of UK TUG (JF 2006–2010) I Terminal decline of UK TUG (2016–2022)
  • 10. From Knuth’s eulogy for SPQR (1955-2016) SPQR was a major contributor to TeX for decades, especially as the architect of the enormously popular TeX Live distribution. [O]ne of the main bridges between users of TeX in academic circles and users of TeX in the real world. Without his efforts thousands of publications would have been poorer. [Pleased to see] leaders of the digital humanities enthusiastically enhancing the tools that I developed, with [STEM] in mind. Surely his legacy will live for a long time.
  • 11. Jonathan Kew Jonathan is the creator of XeTEXand TEXworks. If time allows, expand from https://tug.org/interviews/kew.html
  • 12. My contributions I Bridewell meeting I Work with RF on TEX FAQ I Write for, photocopy and snail-mail Baskerville I LaTEX training day with London Math Society I Revival of UK TUG (2006–2010) I TUGboat: Editable dvi files or wysiwyg TEX I TUGBoat: TEX as a callable function I MathTran web service
  • 14. About the Bridewell meeting I 19 January 1995 I History location: Fleet Street I St Bride’s Church (Wren) I Surplus of several thousand pounds I Speakers David Barron, David Brailsford, JF, Peter Flynn, Martin Keys, Geeti Granger and Mike Popham. I Capacity audience of 120 I Sadly, momentum was lost I Perhaps 25 years on it can be renewed
  • 15. My next 500 weeks (out of 950 expected) I hope for 10 years of good health and vigour. Mathematics I My linear homology (involves Fibonacci 2358) I June Huh et al matroids (2022 Fields Medal) I Grothendieck dessins and algebraic numbers Digital communication I Elder and experience for TEX community I Weekly TEX Hour (a place to share) I Accessibility (our Achilles heel) I Portable TEX Documents (another weakness)
  • 16. TUG interviews, by Dave Walden I https://tug.org/interviews/bazargan-cvr.html I https://tug.org/interviews/carlisle.html I https://tug.org/interviews/clark.html I https://tug.org/interviews/fairbairns.html I https://tug.org/interviews/fine.html I https://tug.org/interviews/flynn.html (Irish) I https://tug.org/interviews/kew.html I https://tug.org/interviews/rahtz.html I https://tug.org/interviews/talbot.html I https://tug.org/interviews/taylor.html I https://tug.org/interviews/wright.html
  • 17. UK TUG meeting, 201? From UK TUG website
  • 18. The windfall TUG has a windfall of $5,000 from the dissolution of TUG. How to spend it is an agenda item for the TUG AGM (4 hours from now). Slides and notes from this talk will appear at https://jfine2358.github.io. Or email me jfine2358@gmail.com. Or join me at an online TeX Hour.
  • 19. For whom the bell Any person’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in humanity, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee. From John Donne Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (pub. 1624), in gender neutral language.