[tex-live] Question about TeX Live Installation

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Wed Feb 8 01:21:09 CET 2006

On 2/7/06, Jerzy Ludwichowski <Jerzy.Ludwichowski at uni.torun.pl> wrote:

> Karl Berry <karl at freefriends.org>:
> >     I use WindowsXP Pro.  I have 768MB of RAM, an Athlon 2100+ (1.7GHz), and
> >     about 2.8GB of HDD space left before the install started (now down to
> >     2.54GB).  I am installing from a DVD-ROM drive which I think is limited
> >     to only 4x speed.

And probably some anti-virus tools scanning every file.

> > On such a machine, I can believe it is taking hours to install.  It
> > seems rather excessive to be only 1/4 done after 3 hours, but I guess
> > I'd still most likely wait it out.

Installing TeX does take much longer than typical Win32 applications
that install a few large files, but this seems excessive.  Win32
installs from the install CD on lesser machines take a couple hours
(McAfee AV) while doing other tasks (email, X-server).   Have students
been using your machine?  Are you confident your machine is free of
parasites (viruses, trojans, spyware)?   Does your machine perform
well on other tasks?   [Compare the time to md5sum the TeX Live .iso
file (a few minutes on WinXP 2Ghz P4) and to g95 compile the slatec
library (1400 functions -- which can take hours on WinXP 2Ghz P4 and a
fraction of an hour on the same machine running linux).  How long does
it take to rebuild the ls-R files?]  What filesystem are you using and
have they been defragmented?  I find it really pays to defragment NTFS
on WinXP every night, and I generally try to have a separate "scratch"
partition that is empty except when being used for .iso images being
transferred to CD or DVD.  Many no-name PC's are delivered with
incorrectly configured BIOS that kills performance and/or reliability.

> Karl, you are not joking, are you? What is wrong with "such a machine"?
> I never tried to install from the DVD but if this is the expected install time
> on "such a machine" then there is something terribly wrong with the installer...

Or something is terribly wrong with a platform where it is terribly
hard to write a robust installer.  Maybe the installer should run a
couple benchmarks and give an estimate of the install time.

It wouldn't be such a problem if you only have to do it once a year,
but WinXP systems need rebuilding from scratch rather more often
(especially those that encounter students).  If you have access to a
linux machine, you should consider running the linux install script
with Win32 added to the list of binary systems.  The resulting tree
(when mounted via a network share or copied over to local disk) works
on Win32 after you set a few environment variables (PATH, PERL5_LIB,
GS_LIB, ...) and replace texmf.cnf with texmf.cnf-4WIN.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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