[tex-live] sharing packages between texlive and miktex?

Thanh Han The hanthethanh at gmail.com
Sun Aug 19 11:52:16 CEST 2007


since many of miktex and texlive packages are
platform-independent (ie most of them contain only macros +
fonts + doc), I wonder would it be useful to build a package
repository that miktex and texlive can share?

First let me describe briefly the main components of miktex
and their counterpart in texlive:

| initexmf - MiKTeX configuration utility
|     maintains issues related to formats, filename database,
|     configuration for various programs, map files etc.
|     texlive counterpart: updmap, texhash and alike scripts.
| mthelp - MiKTeX help utility
|     display doc for individual packages.
|     texlive counterpart: texdoc (?)
| mpm - MiKTeX package manager
|     search/install/remove/update platform-indenpendent packages.
|     texlive counterpart: none
| miktex GUI to the above components
|     texlive counterpart: none (?)

I have no intention to say that texlive should follow miktex
or learn something from that. However, it seems a pity to me
that the enormous effort to maintain those
platform-indenpendent packages is duplicated.

I did a small experiment on linux powerpc as follows:

- build pdftex + kpsewhich + kpseaccess for linux powerpc
  (using cross-compiler)
- build miktex tools for unix (the relevant tool is mpm)
- setup a proper texmf.cnf

then I can use tex with the packages managed by mpm. And mpm
can install packages from any CTAN site, since miktex package
repository is part of CTAN. In short, mpm is something very
much like an apt/jum (a linux package manager) for tex,
which allows us to install a very small tex installation and
add needed packages on-demand.

So, in summary, I think it would be a great improvement if:

- the effort to maintain platform-indenpendent packages can
  be put together to build a package repository that can be
  used by both miktex and texlive. It would be something
  like the miktex repository at the moment, but with more
  packages (and more up-to-date) like in texlive.

- texlive can come up with something similar as mpm to have
  finer control on package management. mpm can be used for
  linux, but I assume it's not trivial to get it work for
  all unix systems that texlive support.

Just some thoughts,

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