[tex-live] suggestion for texlive install

ivo welch ivo_welch at brown.edu
Wed Jan 24 19:31:34 CET 2007

I am perhaps a good test case, because I am not a tex wizard.  So, my
ignorance may be a plus.

May I suggest that install-tl.sh (or its equivalent) check whether there
is an existing tex application somewhere first?  perhaps an easy way is
to look for directories in all the places where the texlive distribution
will write its own files; PLUS  a search for tex in $PATH and $TEXPATH.

if any installation is found, the install could ask the user whether
texlive install should [a] remove all traces of the old installation
(presumably in $PATH and $TEXPATH), [b] whether texlive should simply
install over it, or [c] whether the user wants to abort the installation
for now.

An enhanced install next step could look into  /usr/local/* and see if
there exist tex packages that are being superseded by newer versions
from texlive.  If so, the older versions could/should be removed (or
moved), perhaps with user authorization.  this program requires some
intelligence---looking at the version of the files in /usr/local/ and
comparing them to the files in /usr/texlive (ok, an insider filename
joke).  an alternative would be not to look at the versions, but to
print at the end of the install a note that packages xyz have been
installed, but are non-functional because the user's /usr/local/ version
takes precedence.

I am just trying to anticipate some work for you TeXfolks that will come
from people mixing up distributions, which you might be able to avoid. 
Yes, I understand that people with sense should do this themselves, but
the fact is that a fraction of even smart people will make such errors
that will be painful for them and for the nice folks in comp.text.tex
that need to answer the confused questions.



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