Planning for TL5

Fabrice Popineau
Tue, 24 Aug 1999 14:23:46 +0200

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Walter Schmidt <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, August 24, 1999 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: Planning for TL5

> 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 
> obvious.
> 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.

Yes, but so is Perl, and the CPAN guys do have an automated installation for each
new package, so I wonder why CTAN couldn't deserve such a feature too.
The problem is to lead package authors to change their habits and follow precise rules
so that their package integrates well into CTAN.

> 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 :-(

It has too (in my opinion). It could be a requirement for each package author
to follow guidelines in order for his package to be part of the 'automated ctan'.

Admitting that the stuff at stake is the macros/ and fonts/ stuff, the transition could happen
by setting up an 'automated/' directory where all auto-instalable packages with the
adequate install script would be moved. This part would allow to build a texmf tree
from scratch.

> You mean, I have to learn XML before I am allowed to publish a LaTeX package?
> No -- thanks!
Sorry, but if the requirement is just to fill in a form, it should be ok for anybody.

> >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.

No. Just that Perl/TK could be included on the TeX-Live CD and runable from the CD.

> What about Java?  (This is not a joke!)

Maybe it is not a joke. Anybody has experience of Java program actually running 
platform independent ?

CTAN is wonderful, but it would be even more if the stuff on it was more 'structured' and 
'automated'. The longer we wait, the harder it will be. Maintaining texmf trees (Thomas, Sebastian)
is not an easy task, nor is it one to find errors in it.

Fabrice Popineau