[tex-live] new install concept for TeXLive

Peter Flynn pflynn@imbolc.ucc.ie
Thu, 22 Mar 2001 11:30:46 +0000 (GMT)

> 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

This is excellent news.

> (Fabrice is working on the Windows end; one result should be to make
> initializing the setup faster).

I don't suppose there's ever any risk of the install interface
being broadly the same for both?

> I have abandoned the whole edifice of "basic/recommended/all" and
> changed to a flat system of `collections' (back to teTeX philosophy,
> I think....).

This is fine, except I would think the default should include
a little more than essential plus latex so that newcomers end
up with a system that will at least process a significant
subset of documents. Perhaps add bib, books, graphics, math,
and psfonts. Difficult call. Hard to know where to stop.

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

My call here: I should finish what I promised on eiad.dtx
so we can ship [Q] Irish :-)

> 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

A-Z and a-z is 52 :-) Plus 0-9 is 62. OK, I understand.

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

Umm. That would be needed, I think. It's pretty much expected
behaviour a la RPM.

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

Do you feel this must be done?

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

I'm certainly prepared to do something, even if "only" write doc.

> 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.

Sounds good.

> 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).

What's the installer written in?

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

Dare I suggest we should seriously look at using something extant
rather than writing our own, if possible?

> 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 :-}

We're all in this boat: I think you have done an amazing job
in virtually zero time.