[tex-live] Re: Debian-TeXlive Proposal II

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Tue Feb 1 11:51:45 CET 2005

Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> wrote:

> a complication is that you want to cover two situations:
> - sysyadm installs tex and user ads his/herown stuff
> - user installs tex
> the first one is the most problematic and most of what you say refers to that;
> indeed it does not make sense to have those extra paths there; in the
> second situation the "LOCAL" suffix could go.

Well, fine. But I think we need not consider the second case when we
talk about creating Debian packages. As a local site policy, the
sysadmin can add as many user paths to Debian's TEXMF setting, but this
cannot be done in the package.

>> If a "something" is packaged to extract itself into texmf-dist, it's
>> broken, anyway, isn't it? If we have the ordinary tex-live setup with
>> texmf-dist, these additional files will be removed by the tex-live
>> upgrade, anyway - that's what texmf-dist is for, isn't it?
> indeed, but if "john" wants to help "joe" and sends him a zip with a
> texmf-dist root .... such things happen;

If joe installs the contents of a zip without checking whether

- the paths in it are absolute and

- it installs into a directory that is an absolute NO-NO for a Debian

then I cannot help him. The same havoc would result if it installs into

> it becomes even nastier when
> someone puts a package on ctan, and the accompanying manual talks
> about putting things in dist ...

Well, that's nasty, but it's equally nasty when the installed version
doesn't support texmf-dist at all or when the files are removed as soon
as the installed version is updated.

> btw, this makes me wonder: how about installing everything in
> texmf(main) and making a symlink from texmfdist to texmfmain, that way
> everything ends up in the expected place

I do not see what I would gain with this. People installing into no-no
directories would get some more convenience. I don't care about them,
because they will do other weird stuff as well, and we'll get strange
bug reports anyway.

There's only one place where an administrator on a Debian system should
install files into, and that is TEXMFLOCAL. There's only one place where
a Debian user should install files into, and that is TEXMFHOME. There's
only one place where a Debian maintainer of an add-on package should
install files to, and that is the same place where teTeX/tex-live
install their stuff. Everything else is an error, and trying to support
errors won't do anybody any good. It only makes debugging harder.

> (or texmffonts or texmfproject ...); i must admit that i use only a
> small portion of the tree and never install packages, but i can
> imagine manuals/readme's to talk about where to put things

Usually they just say something like "put them to a place where TeX can
find them", and indicate the proper subdirectories. 

>> This doesn't seem to be an issue in a properly configured Debian
>> package. There's one HOMETEXMF for every user which works out of the box
>> - not more and not less -, and in teTeX 3.0 there will be TEXMFCONFIG
>> which additionally supports creation of user-specific formats.
> hm, does that one replace texmfvar (or vartexmf) ?

Yes, in the sense that it shadows files in it - every file that is
"touched" by the user when he calls the texconfig program will be first
copied (from wherever it is) to TEXMFCONFIG, and then changed as the
user requests. If a format is generated from that information, it goes

Regards, Frank
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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