circular dependency when building LaTeX?

Thiago Jung Bauermann bauermann at
Tue Jul 6 21:20:56 CEST 2021

Hello Karl,

Thank you very much for this very informative response!

Sorry for the delay in answering. I’m still getting acquainted with 
TeX Live’s build system and repository organization, so most of what you 
wrote went over my head. Fortunately there’s a lot of reading material 
about this topic, which I’m reading. I’m still absorbing all the 
information, but I feel I can provide a minimally reasonable reply now.

Em sábado, 26 de junho de 2021, às 18:48:52 -03, Karl Berry escreveu:
>     Interesting suggestion, thanks. Is trunk considered a stable version
>     of the TeX Live distribution that can be relied upon by users?
> The Master/ part of the TL source tree is the current runtime (TeX
> files, etc.).  It can and should be considered the version to use, as
> opposed to some arbitrarily old version. There is not really any such
> thing as a "stable" version, because TeX is the joint effort of hundreds
> of people working independently, uploading packages to CTAN.
> Using the 2020.1 tag for your runtime is merely dooming your users to
> having stale (and never-updated) versions of packages, not giving them
> more stability. If anything, trunk is the most stable to use, because
> new releases are often made to fix compatibility problems. This is more
> true than ever this year, as the LaTeX core steadily makes changes
> required for (ultimately) better accessibility, but which also require
> changes on the part of many third-party packages.

This is great to know, and surprising to me. Unfortunately it’s hard to 
update TeX Live very often in Guix, because each time that happens it 
causes thousands of packages to be rebuilt. Guix has been updating TeX Live 
more or less once a year. The pace could be increased to about twice a 
year, but more than that would require changes in Guix packaging practices. 
Perhaps improvements can be made there.

> The Build/ part of the TL source tree, on the other hand, is the
> compiled sources. It is indeed better to use the 2020.1 tag of that
> subtree for building your binaries, since that source tree does (as far
> as we know) compile and work. The trunk version of the sources hopefully
> compiles, but has usually barely been exercised.

Guix uses the texlive-<date>-source tarball for the Build/ part, if I 
understand things correctly. Maybe it would be an improvement to get it 
from a more recent Subversion tag instead. I’ll experiment with it.

> The tldistro at list ( is a list dedicated
> to precisely the questions of adapting TL to a particular
> system.

Thanks! I subscribed to that mailing list as soon as I received your email.

> Building formats, maps, etc., have all been discussed many times
> (at least once per distro :). If questions persist, you might write
> there, and/or check the archives there, etc. --best, karl.

Indeed. Thanks for your patience in providing this guidance repeatedly.
I already found a discussion there about packaging for Nix, which is very 
relevant to Guix as well.


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