[tex-live] Stable vs. Unstable/Testing Update Repositories?

C.M. Connelly cmc at math.hmc.edu
Wed Feb 24 20:39:26 CET 2010

"RF" == Robin Fairbairns <Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk>

    RF> by contrast, ctan is

    RF> 17032580 .../ctan/tex-archive

Exactly, 17 GB for all of CTAN, which we mirror locally (on a
public mirror).  Compare with 885 GB for Fedora (who are asking
for 1.2 TB in the near future); 267 GB for Debian; 89 GB for
CentOS; 320 GB for Ubuntu.

TeX Live is only 2.8 GB.  Compare that with some big commercial
software packages for which I maintain local mirrors:

   4.5G  wolfram/mathematica/7.0.1
   5.8G  matlab/upstream/R2009b
   1.4G  maple/sw/13

A local install of the latest MATLAB on a Mac (with both 32- and
64-bit packages) is 2.8 GB; TeX Live (from MacTeX) with all its
myriad packages and binaries is still slightly smaller.

Space can be saved on the mirrors through hardlinking --
packages that don't change can be linked; those that do are
replaced by new versions, which will still be a fraction of the
size of the whole.

Maintaining multiple releases is very doable, it just requires
someone to decide to do it.  And, yes, obviously, I can do it
myself.  I can maintain my own local mirror, point all my machines
at it, and only migrate packages there after I've looked at the
changes, maybe done some amount of testing and think they're safe.
Similarly, on the server side I can juggle links to maintain
multiple copies of our TeX Live install.

But having that process handled upstream would make those benefits
available to everyone, and having it handled by the system's
developers will mean that problems, when found, can be addressed
quickly and competently.


  Claire Connelly                              cmc at math.hmc.edu
  System Administrator                           (909) 621-8754
  Department of Mathematics                 Harvey Mudd College

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