[tex-live] teTeX: no next release

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Mon May 29 19:24:53 CEST 2006

Peter Flynn <pflynn at ucc.ie> wrote:

> David Kastrup wrote:
>> Zdenek Wagner <wagner at cesnet.cz> writes:
>>> On Mon, 29 May 2006, [iso-8859-1] Frank Küster wrote:
>>>> Furthermore, I think the best thing we got from Thomas is the
>>>> infrastructure, which has been merged into TeXlive and is still
>>>> maintained by him there.  Work on selecting and updating CTAN
>>>> packages, and in creating useful collections, is probably better
>>>> done within TeXlive, or by making the MikTeX installer work with a
>>>> preinstalled TeX system.
>>> I agree. Having rpm's is good just for a group of Redhat based
>>> systems.
>> Yes and no.  The most important thing would probably have a _file
>> list_, or package list.  Whether one generates RPMs or DEBs or
>> whatever else from such a list would then be a secondary
>> consideration.
> As someone who has to support actual (500+) *users* on a mix of
> platforms in which RH-based systems (eg FC) play an increasingly large
> role, can I make my 2¢ pitch for a TeXLive RPM?

Just to make that clear:  I answered to Michael's original mail about a
rpm repository for *teTeX*, which I see no big value in now that teTeX
won't get a further release.  rpm's for TeXLive are a completely
different thing; as much as I am happy that we now have Debian packages
for TeXLive, I also support to create rpms.

> Thomas did a brilliant job in producing and maintaining teTeX, but for
> many years the tetex{...}.rpm collection was sadly out of date. I've
> never actually found out why, or who was supplying it to the Red Hat and
> FC repos, 

I always thought that the Debian teTeX packages were the outdated ones
(and the reason was in most cases: an unfortunate coincidence of the
long teTeX release cycles with the long Debian release cycles).  I don't
know how teTeX-rpms were handled for RH and FC.

However, even TeXLive has a yearly release cycle; so if a distribution
has a release twice a year, one of them might well contain a TeXlive
which is nearly a year old.

> My recent tack has been to pull the tetex RPMs and replace with TeX Live
> from whatever the then current CD/DVD was. This has fixed most of the
> out-of-datedness problems, but introduced its own, because the default
> installation directory changes every year. *I* can deal with this, but
> the average user neither knows nor cares whether it goes in /usr/TeX,
> /usr/local/texlive/yyyy or wherever: they simply want it to work, and
> to be upgradable year by year. 99% of these are single-user systems,
> so the need to consider multiple users is not relevant (the few multi-
> user systems are capably handled by departmental admins who *do* know
> where to put and find stuff).

I must say that I did not use TeXLive at all until recently, so I don't
know about this.  But I'm surprised here, since the infrastructure and
the underlying kpathsea is the same as in teTeX.  And there, it was
never a problem:  If the file placement in the main rpms changes, some
variable in texmf.cnf is changed, but the locations for the
machine-specific or per-user directories didn't change at all.

> I realise there are political arguments in the Debian field, and a
> strong feeling in some quarters that we should only provide support to
> sysadmins rather than end-users, but I worry that unless we admit that
> the move is towards single-user workstations rather than shared lab
> or departmental systems, we will end up making it so hard for users
> to switch to TeX that we will be back in the pre-tetex days.

I don't understand which "political arguments in the Debian field" you
are talking about, can you elaborate?

Regards, Frank

Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX)

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