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

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Feb 26 14:45:29 CET 2010

On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 7:53 AM, Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard <mpg at elzevir.fr> wrote:

> George N. White III a écrit :
>> On Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 7:31 AM, T T <t34www at googlemail.com> wrote:
>>> I disagree with your assessment here. Even well tested updates can
>>> sometimes break your system.  When being on a tight deadline I usually
>>> don't update anything, including the OS. The rule "if it ain't broken
>>> ..." applies is such situations.
>> Many large organizations force-feed security updates
> Of TeX Live packages such as beamer or geometry???

They want versions compiled internally against the system .dll's,
which get updated with the distro updates.   If TL is in the distro
that will be get updated.   IT often takes the view that "security is
the priority" so updates will be applied even when they have
been told the application will break -- it is up to users to fix their
applications.    There is some justification for this -- for some it
is better not to have a document at all than to have one that
is being read by the wrong people and recent calls from the FBI
to some US corps demonstrated to upper management that
IT doesn't really know who is reading those documents.

>> TL is not big by today's standards.
> It is big by CTAN's standards.
> Manuel.

Right -- users who want multiple versions of CTAN TL have to
save the older version and can't rely on going back to CTAN for
downgrades.   The important feature of CTAN TL (as opposed to
distro TL) is that you can install it (e.g., without creating links in
/usr/bin) in a way that allows you to have multiple versions and
switch back and forth as your projects require.

Use case: site has been running TL on platform X.  They find
that some updates to the base TL are needed, so freeze the
config after adding a particular set of updates.  Then they want
to move the system to platform Y.  Using CTAN they won't be
able to get to the version they have been running on X.   There
is actually a good chance they can just add the binaries for Y
to the platform X install and get something with the same texmf
trees that runs on platform Y, and in any case they need to
check that their jobs work the same on both platforms and be
prepared to do some troubleshooting when they don't.

I haven't been watching carefully for changes to binaries, but
on this machine most of the binaries don't appear to have
changed, although symbolic links and scripts have been

Note that the "use case" issue only occurs because the site
didn't test on the pre-release version.    I presume Karl does
test his files, which is why his "stable" version is the release

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

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