[tex-live] TeX Live on usb drive

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun Mar 22 00:00:58 CET 2009

On Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 2:04 PM, Jerónimo Leal <jleal at pusc.it> wrote:

> Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) wrote:
>> Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard wrote:
>> > But while we're at it, I wonder in people would be interested in
>> > purchasing USB
>> > keys with pre-installed TL (and maybe other portable tools like
>> > texworks) from
>> > the TUG store (or via their local TUG).
>> I wondered exactly the same; maybe there is a (small)
>> source of income for a TeX entrepreneur who would
>> like to offer such things on a buy-it-now basis
>> on Ebay ...
>> ** Phil.
> But my group (GuIT) distributes the DVD to all the members every year. What
> will happen if they distribute an usb-drive with a nice logo of TUG on the
> surface? We are promoting the TUG also when the distribution is obsolete and
> you can give the drive to another person or use it (also without the
> content). I would be interested in  buy a little quantity of drives to
> distribute to my students.
> I think that the future is in others physical mediums than the DVD or CD.

Physical media are a stopgap for those who don't yet have good internet
access, so the future is the net but the current reality is that TeX
Live is too
large those without cheap high-speed internet to download.

DVD media cost is a small fraction of the cost of a USB memory stick, and
DVD media is quite robust, so other physical media make sense only for
people who don't have access to DVD readers (e.g., those netbook users
with limited financial resources) or internet.   DVD readers are not as robust
as USB keys, so it doesn't make sense to buy one just to load TeX Live
on a netbook.

> The solution of the zip file with all tlnet/2008, which people can easily
> download and unzip to their USB drive, is also very good.

Certainly many people who don't have good network access do have
contact with others who do, e.g., as students in a course where the
instructor has high speed internet, or employees working on a
secure net without direct internet access.  So the main issue is
finding ways to get multiple installs from one download (a topic that
comes up regularly on this list).

For a classroom, a small network server with wireless costs less
than a few dozen USB keys, but requires some administrative input
to configure so may not be suitable for all.    OTOH, once you have
the server working, it should be relatively easy to install TL
on a bunch of netbooks.

I have some experience working in an environment where USB is
the only data transfer mechanism -- eventually you start running
into problems due to mechanical wear and tear on the USB

The TL ecosystem has become pretty complex, so it is hard for
any one person to understand all the problems, while those who
are encountering problems may be working around issues that
those working in developed regions never see.

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

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