[tex-live] TeXLive 2008 Windows Feedback (Version 20080716)

Nicholas Wourms nwourms at gmail.com
Fri Jul 18 16:40:48 CEST 2008

As your download page requests, I have taken the opportunity to test
and evaluate TeXLive 2008 Version 20080716. Here's what I found:

The Good (positive improvements):
1) I like that Perl & GhostScript are self-contained. This is a *huge*
improvement and lessens the potential for conflicts. I like how it
does not require the modification of system environmental variables.
2) I'm very happy that the windows lua wrapper seems to deal with
Cygwin and Msys paths in a transparent fashion and most commands work
inside Cygwin/Msys bash with little or no problems.
3) It is much better that the only system environmental variable
modified was PATH and only added one value was added to it.

The Bad (problematic usability issues):
1) The self-contained Perl distribution has been pared down too much.
For example, it is not possible to run perltex due to lack of critical
modules. Might as well just include the whole thing, the space savings
is not worth it. Suggest just including the latest strawberry Perl,
2) The self-contained GhostScript distribution is broken for most of
its own scripts. For example, ps2pdf and friends do not work because
the lua wrapper cannot find the original script in the GhostScript
library directory.
3) Include the GhostScript shell script versions of the GhostScript
commands for use under Cygwin/Msys bash. Putting them in bin would be
best.  Include a shell lua wrapper, "gs", in bin/win32 for these
scripts to call.
4) The packaging system seems flaky, one time (a few days prior) it
did not have the kpathsea dlls, this time it did not have the icudt40
dll. Fortunately, I was able to find it elsewhere, but the ought to be
some QA in the packaging to make sure all components are present that
should be present. Likewise, the TeX Live Manager should also have a
system (md5/sha1) to verify the presence and condition of each

The Ugly (well not really that bad, just aesthetic aspects):
1) If you are going to use TkPerl, please distribute a version using
Tk 8.5+, the fugliness of earlier versions (due to bad!font rendering)
is terrible.
2) The package counter seems to be screwed up, kept on incrementing
"total += number of packages" each time a sub-window was entered and
then exited.

1) Provide more items to tweak under the TeX Live Manager/Tex Live
Installer. For example, modifying the defaults for dvips and pdf*tex
like output printer and/or resolution.
2) Provide a way to updates between snapshot versions.


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