[OS X TeX] Installing packages

Thomas Schröder hydrochlorix at gmx.net
Mon Jun 7 17:25:15 CEST 2004

Hi Gerben,

Am 06.06.2004 um 16:39 schrieb Gerben Wierda:

> CTAN has *everything* ('comprehensive'). But it does not have 
> versioning or quality control or whatever. And it is unusable for 
> everyone except the most diehard geeks.

It is indeed geeky, but it's lots better than compared to 10, 5 or even 
2 years ago what with the TeX Catalogue and better organisation of 
files. And if you can make someone understand how to run latex on the 
*.ins files you're halfway there.

> TL draws on it, checks for or creates TDS conformance and creates the 
> version stamp files that are also used by MiKTeX. So TL directly is an 
> option as soon as it becomes available online through other means than 
> perforce. MiKTeX uses TL but also other means (it does its own 
> versioning but uses TL) as sometimes they have newer versions than TL.
> Currently, it seems to me that MiKTeX has both high quality and is 
> regularly updated. So my guess is that I should look into that. 
> Hoever, teTeX (my current base) does not use the versioning of TL (it 
> draws from CTAN directly and has its own quality process) so a move to 
> MiKTeX would imply a move with the base system as well.

I can't tell you really why, but it doesn't feel right.

> Note that i-Installer makes that easy enough, I could have a 
> tetex.miktex tree and let the user decide at configure time to use 
> teTeX or MiKTeX as the base.

Well, since CTAN files can't be easily nudged into some automatic 
installation scheme and MikTeX has its own packaging system, why don't 
we as a TeX community come up with one, too? How about we created a 
little group of volunteers, maybe 10-15 people, where everybody was 
assigned a small part of the contrib directory on CTAN/macros/latex. 
Everybody could then work out how each package was to be installed. I 
think most packages are really very straightforward to install: latex 
*.ins, latex *.dtx, put the *.sty in a macros directory, put *.dvi in a 
doc directory etc. These could be marked as 'easy' or something like 
that i.e. they could be automatically installed. For the rest, packages 
would be nice. It would be a bit of work in the beginning, but 
certainly worthwhile. Count me in as one of the would-be-volunteers :-)

What do you think?

	Bye, Thomas

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