[tex-live] install TL from net

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Feb 12 03:47:17 CET 2006

>>>>> "George" ==   <gnwiii at gmail.com> writes:

  > On 2/7/06, Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de> wrote:

  >> When the packages are available on the server, maybe they can be
  >> maintained continuously and a TL release will be just a snapshot
  >> of the packages.

  > At some point, however, you have to think about updating binaries
  > and shared/global configuration files (texmf.cnf).  There is a bit
  > more to a TL release than "just a snapshot" -- it is the time to
  > make the shared/global changes and also to root out conflicts.

I don't think that anything should be updated which requires changes
to configuration files.  TL-2005 should not be maintained any more
when TL-2006 is released.  I don't think that binaries should be
updated at all unless the files on the CD contain severe bugs or the
update provides a very significant improvement.

When the TL texmf tree can be updated at any time I'm sure that
package authors/maintainers will be much more interested to support
TeXLive directly instead of just putting the files on CTAN.

And not every package can be updated.  In particular, a package can
only be updated unless old files have to me removed.  

But bugs can be fixed in most cases.

  > The downside of piecemeal updates is that you enable conflicts,

I switched to Gentoo Linux now which does exactly that.  I hope it
wasn't a mistake, but as far as I can tell I'm amazed how good
everything works.  

  > e.g., you have packages A-1.1, B-2.1, C-3.0 installed, then new
  > versions A-2.1 and B-2.2 are released, with< B-2.2 needing A-2.1,
  > but C-3.0 needing A-1.1.  In practice the person who wrote A has
  > never actually looked at C, so is unware that A-2.1 broke C.
  > Murphy says there will be one group of users that need B-2.2 but
  > never use C, and another that use C but not B (and that you can
  > only learn of this 5 minutes before you are scheduled to leave on
  > a 2-week holiay).

I doubt that TL maintainers have the time to resolve such problems.

   $ find /opt/tex/texlive/2005 -type f | wc -l

Hence it doesn't matter very much whether a package is updated by it's
author or a new TL release is made.  Nobody can say whether there are
such conflicts between packages.  It would even be much better and
more secure when package authors are more motivated to make sure their
stuff works properly in TL rather than rely on Karl and Staszek.

  > The fact that it took relatively few changes to implement network
  > installs is a tribute to a robust initial design and to
  > simplicity.  People will always want software to do more.  It is
  > often better to err on the side of simplicity, but that often
  > means more work (to manually analyze conflicts) for users.  The
  > trick is to minimize the opportunities for users to get into
  > messes that take developer/maintainer time.

I just tried to install from net and I'm not sure whether this is the
preferred way to do it.  There had been some meetings of CTAN
maintainers and TeX system disributors in Bremen (2003) and Darmstadt
(2004) where things like this had been discussed.  I don't know the
results of the discussions.  Hope that I meet Thomas Esser in the near
future.  Or did someone write something down during this meetings?

The reason I had been able to install from net by adding only very few
lines of code is not that the install script is simple.  I must admit
that I even don't know how it works.  All I did is to download a zip
file before the script wants to install it.  But there is no doubt
that the install script is well designed.

I'm also wondering what people need.  MikTeX can download missing
files on-the-fly.  But should we really go so far?  People don't care
about what they have installed already, but when they disconnect their
laptops from the network, they should know exactly what they need and
what they have installed before they use their laptops en-route.

At least, my approach enables people who do not have a flatrate to
install a small TeXLive which contains everything they need and
nothing else in a very short time.  Downloading the complete ISO image
takes much more time.  And as I said before on this list, without a
flatrate time is money.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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