[OS X TeX] Installing packages

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Sun Jun 6 00:23:57 CEST 2004

On Jun 5, 2004, at 22:56, Adam Maxwell wrote:

> 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 
> (AFAIU).

Sadly, this is *not* the case.

> 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...

The current CTAN situation IMO is not fit for automated install. This 
is exactly the reason why MiKTeX has its repository athe way it has. 
And it is also not feasible to ask the users to read anything. Even if 
they are willing to read, they are not always able to understand 
because of a lack of experience with things like these.


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