Document Processing Requirements for a Ph.D Thesis

Warren Toomey, 18th June 1998


This is an on-line version of a talk I gave to the current Ph.D students in the School of Computer Science at ADFA. I have left the bulleted points of the talk untouched, but I have added a section with hyperlinks to the tools mentioned in the talk.

If you have any questions about the presentation, or the tools I used, please email me at

What Document Processing Environment Did I Need?


Displaying LaTeX's Output



Document Management

Document Version Control



Here are some hyperlinks to information about the tools I used.


The current version of LaTeX is LaTeX2e, which differs from the LaTeX described in Leslie Lamports book, published in 1985. A Nutshell book by O'Reilly and Associates, Making TeX Work was more up to date, but is no longer being maintained by the author. I'd welcome any other hyperlinks to good, up-to-date LaTeX books.

On-line information about LaTeX and LaTeX2e, including documentation, can be found at the LaTeX Encyclopedia site.

LaTeX itself, and more styles, extensions & associated tools you can poke a stick at, can be obtained from any of the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network sites, also known as CTAN.

If possible, you want get a pre-compiled binary set of the LaTeX tools, to save you the trouble of building it. If you run FreeBSD or Linux , you can obtain pre-compiled binary packages. The same exists for Windows 95, but I don't have any hyperlinks at hand for them. The BiBTeX bibliographic tools come with LaTeX, and you can many reference styles from the CTAN.

DVI Tools

The DVI tools xdvi and dvips can be obtained through the CTAN. xdvi has it own home page . I haven't found one for dvips. Both are pretty easy to compile, and both are available as binary packages for FreeBSD and Linux. I used some home-grown tools written in perl to separate colour pages from black & white pages in the PostScript output from dvips, so I could send them to different printers.

Graphic Tools

The main tools I used were xfig to draw figures, Gnuplot to do plotting, and xv to work with bit images. All three can produce EPSF files. I used an old LaTeX extension, epsf.sty, to include EPSF figures. There are newer extensions to work with EPSF files, but I haven't used them. Check on CTAN for more details.

Xfig doesn't have a web page, but is software contributed to the X Windows system, and is available at . Gnuplot has its own home page . Xv has its own home page . Again, binary packages for FreeBSD and Linux. Easily built on most Unix platforms.

Document Management

Rsync is a great tool for synchronising entire trees of file between two Unix systems connected by a (possibly slow) Internet connection. You can find out more about rsync from its home page . There are many document revision systems: RCS, SCCS, CVS, and I hope there are some systems for Windows 95 (anybody got some hyperlinks?).

Here is the original RCS paper by Walter Tichy. Here are the basic commands:

ci -u file Check-in a new/existing file
  Makes read-only, gives new version number
co -l file Check-out file, makes writable
rlog file Shows log of check-ins
rcsdiff file On checked-out file, shows differences
  from last checked-in version.
rcsdiff -rX -rY file At any time, shows differences
  between versions X and Y.

Finally, you might be interested to know that this talk was written in LaTeX and translated to HTML using latex2html . Similarly, I have converted my Ph.D thesis to HTML and it is now on-line .

Warren Toomey