[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?

Adam Maxwell amaxwell at mac.com
Mon Oct 23 18:40:24 CEST 2006

On Monday, October 23, 2006, at 09:01AM, Frank STENGEL <fstengel at mac.com> wrote:

>Le 23 oct. 06 à 17:01, Adam R. Maxwell a écrit :
>> On Oct 23, 2006, at 00:45, Frank STENGEL wrote:
>>> Why not expand TCOBrowser to include mpm or a way to communicate  
>>> with it ? Most of the work has already been done.
>> Indeed, why not?  I've been waiting for someone to add this.  I'd  
>> do it myself except a) I don't need it and b) I don't have time.
>Excellent reasons ;-)
>> I'd be happy to help someone who had more motivation.
>Well, I have a few days off coming up, and I could have a (tentative)  
>look into it. The only thing I would need is some source code...

The TCOBrowser source is available via subversion <http://sourceforge.net/svn/?group_id=111837>.

>>> What is left is the actual communication bit. I.e. showing whether  
>>> a package has been installed and giving the option to upgrade/ 
>>> install it. One tricky bit would be to initialize the system to  
>>> know which packages have been installed by i-installer/mactex in  
>>> what version...
>> For TCOBrowser, wrapping the mpm command-line tool with NSTask is  
>> the route I would recommend, since the underlying code is C++; this  
>> is likely fairly straightforward.
>Indeed, that was more or less what I had in mind...
>> MikTeX is also licensed under the GPL, so I don't want to  
>> incorporate or link with it (TCOBrowser is BSD licensed).
>That is one potential problem. Nevertheless, if one is able to detect  
>mpm's presence, then one is able to use it. Basically: if mpm is  
>present then TCOBrowser could use it, if not, then one could be given  
>the occasion to install it. One could even imagine a mode which  
>revolves around mpm...

It would be easy to bundle mpm with TCOBrowser; that's what I do with the cabextract program used at present to extract the MikTeX packages.  With that setup, it's always present, and I think avoids the licensing issues.  Another option is to write a simple program that (as you say) solely wraps mpm.  That might actually be more efficient.

>> One difficulty is that TCOBrowser is based on the TeX Catalogue  
>> Online, and MikTeX may not be a subset of it, so some way to merge  
>> the package listings is required.
>Good point. That could be done at startup: one requests the lists of  
>miktex packages and merges that list with the TCO list. As far as I  
>can tell packages have the same name for both CTAN and miktex.

The TeX Catalogue also lists some  MikTeX information for packages now (I think), which might also be helpful.  The way to start is probably just to use the ones that are listed in the TCO and mpm, and see if that is workable.

Other issues:
- can the location of mpm's package database be configured for ~/Library/Application Support?
- need authenticated installs
- what preferences does mpm need?

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