On Tue, Apr 19, 2022 at 11:04 AM Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga <
The problem is not that it was "Just one of the
things that died out
because no-one could be bothered to maintain it", it is worse: it was
broken on purpose, and not recovered, because the WMF decided that no one
cares about it.
That is patently untrue. The book renderer (OCG) was, due to the lack
of maintenance, increasingly causing problems for the operators of
Wikimedia production services, and the approach it was based on (converting
wikitext to LaTeX) resulted in an endless stream of discrepancies in the
PDF output. It was replaced with another PDF rendering service that used a
headless browser - an approach that resulted in much more faithful
rendering (basically it outsourced the cost of maintaining a good PDF
generator to browser vendors) but didn't scale well and wouldn't have been
able to handle large collections of articles.
I'm not fond of that decision but it obviously wasn't about disabling
something that worked before, just for fun. The Foundation had to choose
between risking platform stability, a significant time investment to
modernize the service (at the detriment of other projects that time could
be invested into), and shutting down a feature that saw relatively little
use, and chose the third.
FWIW there was a volunteer-maintained service doing LaTeX-based
multi-article book generation which might still be functional: