[tex-live] Default installation violates filesystem hierarchy standards

Tristan Miller psychonaut at nothingisreal.com
Sun Sep 27 22:33:42 CEST 2015


On Sunday 27 September 2015, Norbert Preining wrote:
> > documentation, configuration files, etc.) in a directory hierarchy
> > rooted at /usr/local/texlive/2015.
> Yes, that is the default location, as it has been since many many
> years (20?)
> > /usr/local/texlive/2015 is the wrong place to root the installation,
> > as this violates the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (FHS) used by
> > GNU/Linux,
> We never claimed that we follow the FHS, thus we are not bound to
> the FHS.

Well, that's not exactly correct, is it?  TeX Live does claim to support 
"many Unix-based platforms, including GNU/Linux".  Since many Unix-like 
platforms (not just GNU/Linux) prescribe certain filesystem layouts (as 
GNU/Linux does with the FHS), it would be helpful for a software package 
claiming compatibility with these platforms to make reasonable efforts to 
abide by their standards.

> We are providing TeX Live on much more systems than Linux,
> and while we are sure that the /usr/local is reasonably common,
> I wouldn't be sure of the /opt hierarchy.

Well, to be fair, I did list two specifications for Unix-like systems, 
other than GNU/Linux, which say that software packages with their own 
filesystem hierarchies should go in /opt.  Now, I freely admit that I have 
no idea how many TeX Live users are using a system adhering to one of these 
three standards.  If it's reasonable to think that they're in a minority, 
then by all means my suggestion to change the default directory was ill-
advised.  (Most of my experience has been with GNU/Linux and with System V-
derived systems such as Solaris and IRIX.  Perhaps the familiarity has led 
me to overestimate their market share among TeX users.)

> Why? If an admin installs it, he can use links into /usr/local/bin,
> or, extend the system path properly (what I did on our local department
> system).
> You are completely free to install it there, there is nobody hindering
> you in that, if you are deeply interested in FHS.

Yes, I recognize that the default is only a suggestion, and that it's 
possible to install TeX Live wherever you want.  I was assuming (rightly or 
wrongly) that most users of TeX Live's Unix installer were running an OS 
where the defaults were not strictly in accordance with the OS's accepted 
standards.  If my assumptions are reasonable, then changing the defaults 
might be a sensible thing to do.  If they aren't, then my suggestion can be 


  _V.-o         Tristan Miller          ><  Space is limited
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(7_\\    http://www.nothingisreal.com/  ><  To finish what you
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