[XeTeX] "Minimalist" TeX?

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Wed May 16 17:55:49 CEST 2012

On Wed, May 16, 2012 at 6:38 AM, C Y wrote:
> I have compiled xetex from the latest Git sources on sourceforge, and the
> build appears to have been successful.
> Does the sourceforge Git repo of xetex produce a working (albeit minimal)
> TeX once compilation is complete?  (It didn't seem to in my quick test, but
> it's quite possible I didn't do something right environment wise...)  If
> not, is there documentation anywhere of what constitutes the minimal set of
> files that will allow an average LaTeX document to be typeset?
> My interest is in building a "Minimalist" subset of TeX in situations where
> a system installation isn't present, but I've not had much luck locating
> documentation describing what constitutes a minimal-yet-functional subset of
> the TeX Live distribution.  Has anybody documented such a subset?

I didn't document it, but I went through that "pain" a couple of times
when creating a minimal ConTeXt distribution.

No, Git repo won't give you a working TeX distribution. Just to give
you a taste of it (you won't end up with absolutely minimal
installation, but it's a good starting point), try installing TeX Live
(2011 or 2012) with "minimal scheme", add xetex (tlmgr xetex) and then
proceed by adding those packages that you find necessary. Of course
you can start removing files one by one and see if your documents
still compile.

The problem with your requirement is: "what constitutes the minimal
set of files that will allow an average LaTeX document to be typeset".
Nobody can tell you what "an average LaTeX document is" and no matter
how many packages you add, the next "average document" you'll test
will almost definitely miss one package or the other.

TeX Live is already able to give you some minimal installations which
you can turn into something usable by adding a few collection or a few
packages, but as soon as you want "average LaTeX", your collection of
packages won't be that small any more.

When I did that for ConTeXt it was easier since the number of existing
packages is very very very limited. We ended up with approximately 200
MB (most of that were fonts and binaries). Patrick Gundlach was
experimenting with a minimal LuaTeX installation and there it was
easier and smaller (no requirement for LaTeX).


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