Difficulties with the installation

(1) If I don't compile GTK, please don't make it the

    > default.

Yes, this is a common annoyance that needs to be fixed.

    > (3) If I need to edit matplotlibrc, please include the list
    > of possible options beside each of the relevant lines. I had
    > to look up the correct spelling for TkAgg in the source (the
    > User Guide variously refers to tkagg, Tkagg, TkAgg) - there
    > is an easier way.

In general we do

    numerix : Numeric # Numeric or numarray
    interactive : False # see http://matplotlib.sourceforge.net/interactive.html
    toolbar : toolbar2 # None | classic | toolbar2
    timezone : UTC # a pytz timezone string, eg US/Central or Europe/Paris

...and see below...

    > I appreciate all of the hard work by the matplotlib team and
    > hope that my comments are helpful,

They are certainly helpful and we'll fix these as we can. As you'll
notice from the volume of the mailing lists and the number of
different things matplotlib is trying to do, we have our hands pretty
full, so I encourage people to chip in wherever possible. Eg, if
there is a specific rc line that could be better like

# the default backend; one of GTK GTKAgg GTKCairo FltkAgg QtAgg TkAgg
# Agg Cairo GD GDK Paint PS SVG Template
backend : GTKAgg

and you can submit this fix instead, that will be most helpful.

If there is a bug in the manual (tkagg, TkAgg, TKAgg), if you could
download the source, edit it and submit the fixes, that would also be

  matplotlib download | SourceForge.net

I realize that as a new user you often don't know where to find these
things or this information, but I just want to point it out now
because I encourage everyone to contribute what they can.