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

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sat Jul 19 18:18:18 CEST 2008

On Fri, Jul 18, 2008 at 11:40 AM, Nicholas Wourms <nwourms at gmail.com> wrote:

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

I gather you installed from a DVD image file to a Windows system -- if this
is not correct let us know.

> 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.

It will be hard to make everyone happy.  Providing versions of perl and
ghostscript ensures that texlive gets versions that work, but the result
may lack capabilities in the full packages.  TL shouldn't be in the
game of trying to support perl and ghostscript, so it is better to hide
such tools so they are only available to specific TL tasks.

> 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.

If would also be nice if windows TL would run under Wine (the not
emulator windows environment for *x systems).  This is a good
way to ensure that TL doesn't rely on some obscure windows
feature that may change.

> 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,
> instead.

If TL provides a complete perl system then users will want bug fixes,
updates, etc.  It is much better simply to avoid possible conflicts with
whatever perl the user chooses.

> 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.

Lots of testing will be needed to sort out issues with the various
scripts that use gs for Win32.

> 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.

2 and 3) raises the same issues as for perl.

> 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
> package.

You are the QA!  For a while the installer was rejecting md5sums for
every package -- I haven't checked to see if these were disabled.

> 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.
> Suggestions:
> 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.

Things like that can be added once the basic functionality is
working reliably.

> 2) Provide a way to updates between snapshot versions.

I've been using "tlmgr -v update --all" with both a web installed
system and one installed from a local copy of svn "Master",
but have tried it on real Win32 (just linux, solaris, and
darwin).   There are some problems running tlmgr under
wine,  but the basic apps (tex, pdftex, xetex, and luatex) can
format simple docs.

Have you tried running tlmgr with a --location set to your
nearby CTAN mirror?  I hope things are now sufficiently stable
that further snapshots will not be needed.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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