[texworks] integrating TeX Works into TeX Live

Stefan Löffler st.loeffler at gmail.com
Sun Mar 15 14:37:45 CET 2009

On 2009-03-15 05:09, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> On 14 March 2009 Stefan Löffler wrote:
>  > Hi,
>  > 
>  > since I don't have any experience in TeX development I have a not very
>  > philosophical, but quite practical question:
>  > Are the $TEXMF... a de-facto standard throughout all (major) (La)TeX
>  > distributions? I.e. do distributions other than TL use it as well, e.g.
>  > MikTeX on Windows?
> I think so.  All current TeX distributions comply with the "TeX
> Directory standard".  See:
>    ftp://ftp.dante.de/pub/tex/tds/tds.html 

Hang on, maybe I understood you all wrong. I just checked my system
(Linux/Ubuntu) and I don't have a $TEXMFCONFIG environmental variable
defined. So are you just suggesting that *if* such a variable is defined
TW should look for configuration files there?

BTW (a little off-topic): is there a (portable) way to determine those
directories if $TEXMF... is not defined? And could that be used to get
an overview over the installed packages?

> So let me explain my philosophy:
> Unlike most other programs, TeXworks is very much TeX related.  You
> can't use it for anything else.  This is true for other TeX shells
> too, but let me come back to this issue later.
> TeX Live 2008 is a multi-user/multi-platform system now.  The biggest
> difference between TL-2007 and TL-2008 (besides network
> installation/updates) is that on TL-2008 almost everything behaves
> exactly the same on Unix and Windows now.  It was not easy to achieve
> this, but I'm very glad about what had been achieved.
> For example, a big advantage of TeX Live 2008 is that you can have a
> portable TeX Live on your USB stick now, which works on all platforms
> which are currently supported.  I'm using Linux at home and have to
> use Windows at work, the TeX Live system on my USB stick works on both
> systems, and at our local TeX meeting at the University it worked
> perfectly on a laptop running Mac OS X.

I'm not sure if I get this correctly. Using the same binary of TW on all
platforms won't be possible anyway (TW compiles on all platforms, but
the resulting applications are not binary compatible). So this is all
about the configuration files TW uses.
As a matter of fact, there already is an USB mode. You can override all
configurations by putting a file named "texworks-portable.ini" in the TW
application directory (see
http://code.google.com/p/texworks/issues/detail?id=95 for more
information). So for just taking the configurations with you on some
kind of portable media this should work. Of course this is pretty
hard-coded and doesn't work well with multi-user systems (where
different users may want to use different portable settings).

> My personal opinion is that it's easier to support cross-platform
> systems if programs obey the "TeX Directory Standard". 
> And I really want to be able to have TeX Live and TeXworks on my USB
> stick and it should work with any supported platform.

Well, as said before: TW is obviously strongly TeX-related, but it's not
part of TeX. It's essentially a stand-alone application and should
therefore behave like one, IMHO. Which doesn't mean that it shouldn't be
able to interact with TeX and adopt some of its directory structure
etc., but in the end I think this has to be optional. After all TW could
easily be installed on a system that has no TeX distribution (i.e. to
write documents for later compilation).


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