[tex-live] new install concept for TeXLive

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz@computing-services.oxford.ac.uk
Mon, 19 Mar 2001 00:07:02 +0000

Unusually for me (spurred on by the great Joachim Schrod!), 
I have spent some quality time on TeX Live, and
revised the installation system under Unix (Fabrice is working on the
Windows end; one result should be to make initializing the setup
faster). I have abandoned the whole edifice of
"basic/recommended/all" and changed to a flat system of
`collections' (back to teTeX philosophy, I think....). 

The `collections' option in the Unix/Linux install now
looks like this:

a [ ] armenian		o [ ] formats_extra	D [ ] misc
b [ ] bib		p [ ] french		E [ ] mongolian
c [ ] books		s [ ] games		F [ ] omega
d [ ] chemistry		t [ ] german		G [ ] pdftex
e [ ] cjk		u [ ] graphics		H [ ] plain_extra
f [ ] context		v [ ] greek		I [ ] polish
g [ ] croatian		w [ ] html_xml		J [ ] portuguese
h [ ] cyrillic		x [ ] indic		K [ ] psfonts
i [ ] czech		y [ ] italian		L [ ] publishers
j [ ] documentation	z [X] latex		M [ ] spanish
k [X] essential		A [ ] latex3		N [ ] swedish
l [ ] etex		B [ ] latex_extra	O [ ] thesis
m [ ] finnish		C [ ] math		P [ ] vietnamese
n [ ] fonts_extra

allowing you to add extra package collections to your setup. as you can
see, the big change is that all the language things are now
independently selectable, so that Poles need not get Czech fonts, and
Spanish people can have their lshort version etc. The current install
defaults to "essential" and "latex" only.

There are 3 flaws in this

 1. the current set of collections has been put together by me in a
    fairly rough way. I REALLY REALLY need input on this! I want
    people to take some of the collection definition files, and think
    carefully about the contents, and come up with useful results. I
    don't want the number of collections to go over about 60, but
    there are only 40 at present, so there is plenty of room to add
    extra stuff

 2. the collection files allow for expressing dependencies, but I have
    not implemented that yet

 3. the language support is misleading. If you ask for "finnish", I do
    not edit language.dat to uncomment Finnish hyphenation.

if anyone would like to work on any of this, I'd be very happy. 

The new collection files are XML, naturally (RDF-ish), and the format
is subject to change (Fabrice may need extra information for the
Windows version, for instance). For Unix/Linux install the XML files
are pre-processed to plain text lists.

The current Unix/Linux install needs a complete rewrite, of course,
incorporating an XML parser, if anyone out there has some spare
programming capacity (remembering that it has to work on all and any
Unix systems).

The big new project, which I believe is now feasible, is a proper
package management system, allowing the user to add, remove and update

Please all remember that, with the best will in the world, I have
almost no time at all to work on TeXLive; managing the texmf tree
takes most of my available effort. Messages saying "why don't
you do X" or "if you changed it all to Y, it would be easy" tend to
get filed in the `For when I retire' mail folder :-} 

I will post again tomorrow with details of where the new collection
files are.


PS Joachim, let me know if you want me to keep copying you on this stuff.

PPS Luzia, is this useful for your school project?