[tex-live] Symlinks to fonts during installation

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 10:50:57 CEST 2013

2013/8/29 Pander <pander at users.sourceforge.net>:
> On 2013-08-29 00:33, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
>> On 2013-08-28 at 11:00:05 +0200, Pander wrote:
>>  > Hi all,
>>  >
>>  > I would liek to propose that when onse chooses to create symlinks
>>  > during installation that
>>  >   /usr/local/share/fonts/truetype ->
>>  > ../../texlive/2013/texmf-dist/fonts/truetype/
>>  > and
>>  >   /usr/local/share/fonts/opentype ->
>>  > ../../texlive/2013/texmf-dist/fonts/opentype/
>>  > are being created.
>> Hi Pander,
>> first of all, using the symlink option is not the preferred way to
>> install TeX Live.  The TeX Live installer doesn't change anything on
>> your system.  It just creates a directory "texlive" and puts files
>> into it.  The symlinks are an exception and only exist as a last
>> resort for people who do not know how to set environment variables.
>> Since the recommended way is to add the bin directory to $PATH, it
>> sounds odd to me to add new features to the symlink option, especially
>> if they are absolutely unrelated.  The symlink option and the font
>> setup of your system are two completely different things.  It would be
>> wrong to hijack the installer like this.
>> Furthermore, creating symlinks in /usr/local/bin is relatively
>> reliable but creating files in other directories is problematic
>> because these directories can contain anything.  It's simply too
>> dangerous to touch them.
>> In order to use system fonts with TeX Live, one can set $OSFONTDIR
>> appropriately.  Since XeTeX and LuaTeX can use system fonts already
>> there is rarely a need.  On the other hand, in order to use fonts
>> provided by TeX Live with external programs, it's necessary to
>> configure the system accordingly.  Neither the installer nor tlmgr
>> can manage your system.
>>  > In this way, systems such as Ubuntu can directly access the fonts
>>  > without any further configuration. This is an identical approach as
>>  > is done now for the files that end up in /usr/share/bin. When
>>  > needed also absolute path can be used.
>> The ultimate solution is to make fontconfig aware of the fonts
>> provided by TeX Live, as Zdeněk suggested.
>>  > What is the opinion of the TeX Live maintainers on this?
>> A few years ago the question came up whether we need the symlink
>> option at all anymore.  We decided to keep it as a last resort because
>> it's impossible to give detailed instructions how to add something to
>> $PATH on the many systems TeX Live supports.  Not to mention user
>> preferences.  It's not the recommended way to install TeX Live though.
>> I can't speak for the whole team, but IMO it's wrong to add something
>> completely unrelated to the symlink option.
> OK, understandable. What do you guys think of the following alternative:
> Provide information on location of newly installed TTF and OTF files and
> refer to some methods of adding it to your system (fontconfig, links, etc.)
I have not read the documentatin for several years because my old
setup (since 2007) still works but at least at that time this
information was there. It suggested to copy the files but I decided to
make a double symlink.

>> Regards,
>>   Reinhard

Zdeněk Wagner

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