[tex-live] TeXLive has no stable source tree and resorts to DVD with binaries?

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Thu Apr 14 14:14:15 CEST 2011

2011/4/14 George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com>:
> On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 5:18 AM, Joseph Wright
> <joseph.wright at morningstar2.co.uk> wrote:
>> [...]
>> The reality is that the only way a (La)TeX
>> package gets used is if it gets released. (Remember that there is MiKTeX
>> as well as TeX Live, so it's not even just a TeX Live issue.) The
>> workflow for a package author is simple:
>>  - Write package
>>  - Upload to CTAN
>>  - TeX Live/MiKTeX pick up package
>>  - It gets distributed
>>  - Bugs appear
>>  - You (hopefully) fix them
>>  - Upload to CTAN and loop
> The price of reliability (in the sense that your TeX documents can be formatted
> when you need them) is eternal vigilance.
> The diverse ways in which TeX is used make it impossible for authors to test all
> combinations and permutations.  What matters is whether a package works in
> real documents.  Many of us use the same templates over and over with different
> words but the same set of TeX packages.  If your templates are at all
> complex and
> you want them to work reliably, you need to create a set of test templates and
> check them regularly against the current TL updates, and against the pre-release
> binaries during the annual test cycle.  If a new or changed macro package breaks
> your document, it is best to discover that when the package (update)
> is released,
> rather than hours before some deadline.   If a new version of a binary
> breaks your
> documents, it is best to discover that prior to release.
When new TL release appears, I install it but do not use it (I inslall
even pretest). Instead I continue to use the previous version and from
time to time check the new release on my documents. when i am
satisfied, I switch to the new release but still keep the previous
release and the releases can easily be switched just by changing PATH.
If everything works for some time and the disk is becoming full, I
remove the old release. I decided to remove TL up to 2005 but I still
keep all versions from 2007 up to now although I do not use these old
releases. And I never do "tlmgr update" in the middle of an important

The reason of conflicts is quite often caused lack of LaTeX education.
some users blindly copy the preamble from a document to another with a
lot of \usepackage command no matter whether they really need these
packages within to document. and they often use a large package even
in cases where a short macro would do the job.

I have several projects that have been living for some 15 years,
originally used with emTeX od OS/2, then teTeX on OS/2, now TeX Live
on Linux (2005 to 2010 releases). The only problem was the XYpic
package because something was changed. I have replaced it with
\vrule's and tikZ.

> Pretty much the same principles hold for people who work with large software
> systems that rely on open source platforms.
> --
> George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
> Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

Zdeněk Wagner

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