[XeTeX] TeXLive update issues

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Wed Dec 16 00:30:15 CET 2009

On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 3:03 PM, Gareth Hughes <garzohugo at gmail.com> wrote:

> Maxim Cournoyer wrote:
>> I believe a guide would help. It's always good to have a definitive,
>> specific source of information (say, manpages) and a more contextual one
>> (detailed examples on a blog, for example). I would use it for sure, as
>> I'm in the process of setting up TeXlive 2009. But I don't know how
>> practical it would be to keep both installation. You would have to
>> differentiate the names from both install to make them in your path at
>> the same time? Or a "switch" variable to trigger the newer or older
>> install. This would be easier to do. The way I'm going to go right now
>> is install full TeXlive 2009 packages from standard install. Then try to
>> make them work by default, adjusting path variables and such. If it
>> works well, I'll keep this default installation (and possibly remove old
>> TeXlive 2007) and if it causes too many issues I'll settle on using
>> TeXlive 2007 for now, maybe copying key new contents to its tree if I'm
>> missing a feature I want.
> OK. I thought I knew what I was doing as I've messed around with my
> installation for a long time. I looked at the following pages for a
> guide on how best to do the update to 2009:
> http://support.river-valley.com/wiki/index.php?title=Notes_on_TeX_Live_setup
> http://neoarch.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/tex-live-in-ubuntu-without-the-packages/

What you need is some assurance from the TL maintainers that the
CTAN version of TL is and will remain self-contained: e.g., everything
is contained under one top level directory and the only external change
needed is to put the "bin" directory at the start of the PATH.  Note that
when a distro packages TL they tend to put stuff in other locations.
If you rely on additional evironment settings or symbolic links into
standard "bin" directories then you loose the self-contained property.

> I wanted to get 2009 to live as the texmf-local tree of my current
> installation, but that's probably what has caused the problems. I can
> verify that I have two complete and working installations of TeXLive
> (2007 from Ubuntu repositories and 2009 from ISO). However, I cannot
> interact with them from the command line. There may have been issues
> about which bits of the installation I performed as root (which steps
> should be performed as root?). I would hope that a little jigging around
> with configuration files would get everything working perfectly. Of
> course, there's always the 'nuclear option' of removing the repository
> packages and reinstalling from the ISO, but I shouldn't have to do that.
> Can anyone suggest a way through this?

If you use a command-line, it is not a big deal to adjust the PATH to switch
between different TL versions, one of which can be the one provided
by Ubuntu.  Many people do this routinely, e.g, to have a current TeX
for some projects while maintaining the ability to test things with the
version from a linux distro.

With a pure GUI approach things may not be so easy, but some
tools provide a way to configure the PATH used for the TeX programs,
and it is possible to wrap a GUI program in a script that adjusts the
PATH.  Finally, if all else fails there are virtual machines that allow
you to have a complete system for each TeX version.

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

More information about the XeTeX mailing list