[tex-live] scheme modern

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Jan 9 14:02:56 CET 2011

On 8 January 2011 Arno Trautmann wrote:

 > Hi all,
 > starting a new thread as the other one grew rather large É
 > Sorry for not answering as fast as most of you, I did not expect that
 > many answers Ð thank you all very much for the comments and interesting
 > explanations!
 > As far as I can see, there are three important points to clarify:
 > ¥ What is the purpose of a "modern" (however we call it) scheme?
 > ¥ What should be in this scheme?
 > ¥ Can we save space at all?
 > ¥ First point is easy as it is my personal reason: I give introductory
 > curses at the university (as a regular course, i.e. 3 months with sheets
 > and ECTS-credit points) that goes quite beyond "type this and you get
 > that". This summer, it will be based on luaLaTeX and therefore I thought
 > it would be nice for the beginners not to have to install the full
 > scheme but a somewhat (as much as possible) smaller installation without
 > loosing any functionality Ð of course without the possibility to compile
 > old documents. For that, they can upgrade to full.
 > The intention is to keep the necessary number of files as small as possible.
 > ¥ Now, what would they need? This is the cruxial question. I try to give
 > a list here that should cover most things for what a beginner needs in
 > my oppinion É
 >  Ð formatas for XeLaTeX and luaLaTeX
 >  Ð font loading (otf/ttf, tfm) and some fonts (TeX Gyre), microtype
 >  Ð LaTeX3 (as fontspec depends on expl3 and xparse is very usefull)
 >  Ð graphics: external graphics as well as PStricks and TiKZ, xcolor
 >  Ð KOMA script bundle
 >  Ð presentation classes (beamer, powerdot, lecturer)
 >  Ð packages for tabular typesetting
 >  Ð advanced maths (amsmath, also unicode-math and many other packages)
 >  Ð bibliography: biblatex+biber (no BibTeX needed then, I think)
 >  Ð manymany things I forgot now É
 > ¥ I have much too little about TeXlive and all dependencies to tell
 > wether disk space could be saved or a large number of files could be
 > dropped. That is the question for the experts here and I would be very
 > happy for some answers and further comments.
 > I hope I have made my points a bit clearer so the discussion can go into
 > a straight direction.

Thanks, Arno.  This information is helpful indeed and it's clear now
what you have in mind.

First of all, if it's targeted at beginners, I can't recommend
anything but scheme-full.  Those who enjoy TeX will probably buy books
about LaTeX or borrow some from the library and expect that the
examples described there work out-of-the-box.  Nothing is more annoying
and confusing than missing packages.

Regarding fonts, be very, very careful.  Missing fonts are even more
problematic than missing macro packages because Metafont will try to
create them and nobody groks what's going on.

I don't think that you save space at all.  There are a few macro
packages which can be regarded obsolete, but you don't save much space
if you omit them.  For instance, you want to provide TikZ and PStricks
but, maybe, not PicTeX.  But PicTeX is tiny and you won't notice any
difference in size at all. 

You can save space if you drop documentation in languages other than
English and German, but the amount is not dramatic.  Since some people
might speak other languages as well, it's best if they configure the
installation themselves instead of loading missing stuff afterwards.
But nevertheless, I recommend scheme-full, especially to beginners!

What do you think is a reasonable size for the installation you have
in mind?  If you select/deselect collections, I doubt that you can
save more than a few hundred Megabytes, which isn't worth the effort.
If you go down to package level you might save more space but you have
to know exactly what's needed and how things depend on each other.  I
doubt that you really want to maintain something like that.

In addition to Tomek's response: The original purpose of the profile
file is to allow running the installer in batch mode in order to
install TL with the same configuration on many machines, for instance.
It contains installation paths, so you have to provide different
versions for Unix, Windows, and OS X with appropriate path settings.
You can edit it manually if you know what you are doing.

BTW, TeX Live doesn't provide Biber.  Your students have to install
binaries from TLContrib.  But there is a Unicode version of BibTeX,
called bibtexu.  Does anybody know whether it can be used with
biblatex, even if not all features of Biber are provided?


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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