[tex-live] Having a .fmt for different engines

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Fri Jan 5 00:28:00 CET 2007

>>>>> "Norbert" == Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> writes:

  > It would be great to get fmtutil to this point where something
  > like this is possible, considering that context canbe run with
  > engines like xetex, aleph, pdftex, whatever, and all under the
  > name cont-{en,fr,...}

Hmm, I don't know whether subdirectories in web2c are a good
solution.  Having different files with the same name on a system can
be confusing too.  A few years ago this had been deprecated.  Did
public opinion change?

It's not only an fmtutil issue, I think that kpsewchich should also
provide correct results.  And maybe other tools too.

I also do not see a great advantage because users usually do not get
in touch with format files directly.  It is probably better to call
the files cont-{en,fr,...}-{xetex,aleph,pdftex}.fmt and hide the low
level stuff in texexec.

If many people think that subdirectories in web2c are useful though, I
think that it makes sense to discuss first whether the TDS should be
changed accordingly in order to make sure that all TeX distributions
follow this standard.

What I'm most concerned about is that if different distributions are
using different versions of the tools it becomes more difficult to
maintain them.  Don't underestimate this problem.  Almost everything
can be done if there were much more volunteers, but currently the
situation is very, very bad.

But there is a good reason not to change the TDS: At the moment Taco
is merging the functionality of aleph into pdftex and he plans to add
the functionality of xetex to pdftex too.  As far as format files
are concerned we just need a workaround, not a final solution.  The
issue we are discussing here will not exist any more in about two

Unless there is a significant technical reason for this change, it is
probably better not to introduce subdirs in web2c but use longer names
for format files instead.  Unique names are advantageous too.

As I said before, I don't think that different distributions should
provide customized versions of the tools.  Recently Werner Fink
provided a file "scheme-tetex.tpm" which allows people to derive a
teTeX-like system from TeXLive.  **That** was a step into the right


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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