[OS X TeX] Installing packages

Adam Maxwell amaxwell at mac.com
Sat Jun 5 22:56:47 CEST 2004

On 5 Jun, 2004, at 14:20, Gerben Wierda wrote:

> On Jun 5, 2004, at 4:24 PM, Fernando Pereira wrote:
>> What about keeping the .cab installs away from the main TeX tree by 
>> placing them in the user's ~/Library tree?
> This would break the update system. Suppose you have version 1 of 
> package A and version 2 of package B in your standard teTeX tree. Now, 
> the MiKTeX repository has version 2 of package A and version 1 of 
> package B. How are you going to decide what you want to install if 
> there is no way to detect the relation between a MiKTeX version and a 
> teTeX version? And that is only one of your problems.
> Using the MiKTeX system probably means going all-MiKTeX. And I do not 
> know if that is an improvement over the current stable and reasonably 
> up-to-date situation.

Right, there are enough chances now to screw up a working system 
without mixing them up like that :).  I'd rather see an installer 
implemented using the CTAN than depend on MiKTeX/cab files, and then 
file dates shouldn't be a problem, as CTAN is necessarily up-to-date 

Personally the only use I would have for this is installing obscure 
packages that aren't in gwTeX (and probably shouldn't be), and I 
install those in ~/Library/texmf.  The present way of doing this is 
lame, though, as you must A) know the name of the package you want from 
CTAN and B) know what to do with the various files (.ins, .dtx, .bst, 
.sty, .cls) according to the TDS.  This confuses users, and is easy to 
forget the details until you've done it a few times.

I think the XML version of the TeX Catalogue Online might be a start.  
Something like wget/curl would be used to pull the entire contents of 
the directory given in the TCO file, and an installer could be made 
smart enough to figure out what to do with each of those files, based 
on the extension.  Further, it would be have to warn the user if they 
already have the package installed.  Perhaps it's easier just to tell 
people to read the manual, though...


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