[tex-live] install-tl with network location, but without sneaky updates?

Marc Herbert Marc.Herbert at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 11:08:26 CET 2009

Hi all,

Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> tex live is a *live* system.  when it was first released, its liveness
> was no more than release a year.  nowadays, after the (nominal) yearly
> release, there are patches regularly available.  for some people, that's
> an advantage.

Having patches available on line is great. But why do they need to 
overwrite the original release? Having both available as a network 
install would be even greater. This is a common practice.

Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> the "release" is what you find in systems/texlive/Images
> [...]
> so take the dvd images and install from them.

Philip & Le Khanh wrote:
> Fine, I understand your need and sympathise with it.
> How about fetching the TeX Live ISO (which is fixed,
> and will not be updated until TeX Live 2009) and using
> that as the basis for your installation ?

Karl Berry wrote:
> As I expect you know, you don't need to burn physical dvd's to use the
> .iso images.

Guess what? This is one of the first things I tried.

Unfortunately I gave up on this approach for a number of reasons:
- This requires setting up a server, with 2 Gigabytes space (whereas I 
need only a very small subset)
- I lose the "proximity" benefit of CTAN
- Last but definitely not least: exporting the ISO image content through 
HTTP or FTP does not work. I would need to use something like NFS or 
SMB/CIFS: a huge complication in a world-wide scenario (please do not 
start me on firewalls).

Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> in summary, if you want something static, go for something static, and
> don't go in for the dynamic service.

I understand that the DVD image install is static by nature. However I 
see no compelling reason why the network install cannot provide BOTH the 
dynamic AND the static services. Why tie each software version with a 
given medium?

Optical discs serve a purpose when you are away from a high-speed 
network connection, but as soon as you avail a few Mb/s they become 
cumbersome and useless. Didn't you notice that system administrators 
carry less and less piles of DVDs these days?

It is especially disappointing to have only the dynamic service 
available on CTAN considering that you already have implemented 
everything (code and infrastructure) to provide both services. 
Install-tl & co are a truly impressive achievement in such a short time. 
So now you are basically just missing a "2008-frozen" additional archive 
directory mirrored on CTAN and the "static network service" job would be 
done! Of course more refined solutions are always possible (see for 
instance the nice "--enablerepo=..." option in yum) but they would 
require real work for little marginal value.

Anyway thanks a lot to everyone who promptly answered, very much 
appreciated. Thanks to you I can stop wasting my time looking for a 
non-existing "2008-frozen" CTAN directory and move directly to the 
workaround phase. Still, it would be nice of you to consider this 
"static network install" CTAN feature request.



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