Planning for TL5

Walter Schmidt Walter Schmidt" <
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 13:13:22 +0200 (MSZ)

On Mon, 23 Aug 1999 22:26:56 -0700, Arthur Ogawa wrote:

>5. Sebastian talked about how he generates the texmf tree for TL, using
>a Perl script he calls the sausage machine. Certain packages are unsuited to
>this approach, particularly ones that contain files whose processing is not 

TeX is an open system.  There will always be contributions, whose
installation needs some effort and cannot be done automatically
under all circumstances.  And the whole CD-ROM is more material 
than one single person can understand.

>7. We agreed that it would be ideal if the submitter of a package would be so
>kind as to provide build instructions for the package.

This won't help much, unless the instructions are actually read and obeyed 

>8. We also discussed that it would be in principle possible for an author to
>prebuild all of the files needed at run time, albeit this would load up CTAN 

As to LaTeX packages, they can be supplied in .dtx form, with an
installation (.ins) script, that makes use of TDS.  Everything else 
(e.g. fonts) could be distributed in form of .zip archives, with an 
internal directory structure that can be plugged in below /texmf.  
This approch would already cover large parts of what's on CTAN,
without any increase in the size of the data!

The question is, however, whether you can force all authors to obey 
these rules.  Currently, lots of material do not even make use of the 
_available_ means for easy installation!  I doubt that this will ever 
change :-(

>9. We agreed that it would be desirable for the author to provide information
>about the package, possibly in the form of an XML document that would be the
>basis for an entry in Graham's database.

You mean, I have to learn XML before I am allowed to publish a LaTeX package?
No -- thanks!
BTW:  Who cares about the many obsolete entries in the database?

>11. We discussed creating a system that would update a user's texmf tree over
>the internet. This updater would presumably be based on the TL host mentioned 

Keeping this machine constantly up-to-date and bug-free is still more 
effort that making a good CDROM.  This is IMO not a task to start with!

>12. We discussed the possibility of rewriting the TL installers all in Perl,
>so that they would run on all hosts, not just UNIX.

Does Win provide Perl by default?  OS/2 doesn't.
What about Java?  (This is not a joke!)



Walter Schmidt <>
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