[tex-live] installing parallel (by year) versions

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon May 13 17:58:19 CEST 2013

Zdenek Wagner <zdenek.wagner at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2013/5/13 Robin Fairbairns <Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk>:
> > Barbara Beeton <bnb at ams.org> wrote:
> >
> >> ams tech-support has received an inquiry
> >> to which the answer is "install the latest
> >> version of xxx file"; said file is included
> >> in tex live, but is not posted independently
> >> on ctan, only in a .zip file or via .dtx/.ins.

if the file (not a .dtx) is in a .zip file, it will usually be in .tds.zip

> > is the user actually using tex live?
> >
> > what is wrong with putting the generated file in the user's ~/texmf/....
> CTAN contains dtx, TeX Live contains the generated files ready to use,
> source files (dtx) as well as compiled manual can also be installed.
> >> adding a few sentences about setting up
> >> multiple, parallel, year-specific structures
> >> would be useful, i think.
> It is very easy. Each version is installed in its own directory, as
> default in /usr/local/texlive/YYYY where YYYY is the year. In order to
> switch to another version it is sufficient to modify PATH.
> /usr/local/texlive/YYYY/bin/ARCH must be at the beginning of PATH. I
> have a script written in bash + tcl/tk that offers installed versions
> and can change PATH in the current xterm. I can send you the script.

great.  more then 2 gbytes downloaded to gain access to a file that's
actually a few tens of kbytes.

very modern.  hope the user isn't on dialup ;-)

> In addition, my PATH contains /usr/local/texlive/current/bin/ARCH
> where /usr/local/texlive/current is a symlink to a version that I want
> to use (cuttently 2012). When I decide that 2013 is stable enough, I
> will just change the symlink and all xterms will use it immediatelly.
> I have all versions since 2007 although I do not use them but
> sometimes it is useful to see how things worked in previous versions.
> > fwiw, i would *never* recommend a second installation on a machine.  i
> > do it myself, but there are rather few of my behaviours that i would
> > recommend to anyone else.

i stand by what i said.  i'm not keen to advise an "ordinary user" to
maintain a second tree.

tex's had enough "bad names" in the past ... to encourage people to
believe they need to download a massive object to acquire a single file
... seems to me to fly in the face of all the hard work that has been
done.  sigh.


More information about the tex-live mailing list