[tex-live] installation with network troubles

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Jun 28 03:51:45 CEST 2009

On 27 June 2009 Martin Schröder wrote:

 > 2009/6/27, Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de>:
 > > On 26 June 2009 Manuel Pégourié-Gonnard wrote:
 > >   > Martin Schröder a écrit :
 > >   > > 2009/6/25, George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com>:
 > >   > >> I don't think this is anything new.  With TL2008 the way to deal
 > >   > >>  with less than perfect network access to CTAN mirrors was to
 > >   > >>  use other
 > >
 > > I'm running Gentoo Linux and my whole system had been installed from
 > >  the internet.  I update the system each weekend.  Everything works
 > >  fluently.  I'm quite impressed, I never encountered any problems.
 > Yes. How is this relevant to the TL network installer?

Some of the servers which provide Gentoo, also provide TeX Live
(Muenster, Aachen).  And Gentoo also uses wget.  I'm wondering why
people have problems installing TeX Live while I regularly use the
same technology to update my system.

However, there is probably a significant difference between Gentoo and
TeX Live.  When I update Gentoo, I first have to update my local
package database.  The package database comes from a few dedicated
servers, not from the mirrors providing the packages.

The second step is to do the actual update.  My config file contains a
list of servers which contain the packages.  wget tries three times to
get a package from one server, then it tries another server from the
list.  But during the last few years, it happened only once or twice
that a server doesn't respond.  As far as I remember, the server
didn't let me log in, maybe because the number of clients is limited.

I think the reason it's so reliable is that new packages are first
sent to the mirrors, and after all mirrors have the latest stuff, the
package database is updated.  Then you can switch to another server at
any time if one is not responding.  

I've no idea whether this concept is applicable for TeX Live, there is
another difference:  TeX Live mirrors provide the latest version of a
particular package only.  Gentoo mirrors provide older versions too.
This means that if I don't update the database, I get gs-8.62, but
after an update I get gs-8.64.  I think that there is no need to
handle such cases, but I'm not sure.  

Suppose that

  1. Packages are submitted to CTAN as usual.

  2. The file texlive.tlpdb is only available from CTAN root servers
     or from tug.org and contains a snapshot of what had been sent to
     CTAN 48 hrs ago.

  3. CTAN will never direct you to a mirror which contains stuff older
     than 48 hrs.

I'm not sure this is enough but it's probably worthwhile to think about
it and maybe someone else has a better idea.  The main point is that
when you get the database from CTAN and you can be sure that it
contains only stuff which is provided by all the mirrors already, it's
pretty easy to try another mirror if something doesn't work as expected.

 > The network installer MUST be more robust to network problems.

It's easier said that done.  You suggested:

 > This may be a solution: aria2 (http://aria2.sourceforge.net).

But TeX Live currently supports 15 different operating systems.  The
network installer has to provide binaries for all of them.  I don't
think that anybody is willing to create all the necessary autoconf
stuff, and even then, I prefer to keep the installer small. 

Martin, two questions:

  1. Do you remember what actually caused the problem?  A login
     failure or some interruption during the download?

  2. Did the installer download all packages again or did it use the
     packages which had been downloaded already?


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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