[tex-live] (no subject)

Norbert Preining norbert at preining.info
Sat Sep 22 06:59:43 CEST 2018

Hi everyone,

there have been so many comments, but as the one who made lots of
experiments with USBs on all the big platforms here a few comments:

Tere is no filesystem that is uniformly accepted *AND* which 
support symbolic links - we need symbolic links because 
all the Unix-like systems have links for the biggest part of the
UDF would be the best option, but has problems on both Windows
and MacOS.

NTFS would be also possible, but it is not supported on MacOS out
of the box in most cases.

(After finishing the email and re-doing research) It seems that more
recent versions of MacOS *do* support *reading* NTFS out of the box
(and read/write can easily established by remounting or other options).

That means we could consider doing USB sticks with NTFS as base file
system, which should work out of the box at least on Win, Mac, Linux.

I can try that out easily, but I don't have a recent Mac to test.
If there is enough interest I can produce a USB disk image that one can
download and flash onto a USB stick for testing.

Now for answers to some of the emails:

On Wed, 19 Sep 2018, George N. White III wrote:
> FAT32 is widely supported but needs large sector sizes for large
> media.   This may not be a problem for a filesystem populated with
> archives.   VFAT (long filenames) has been supported in linux for
> years.

Both don't support links.

On Wed, 19 Sep 2018, Philip Taylor wrote:
> Binaries are, IMHO, not the cause of the problem, nor is their removal the solution.  The TeX Live installer offers a number of schemes -- why not pack all binaries and the files needed by as many of the the smaller schemes as possible onto DVD-1 and the additional files needed by the larger schemes onto DVD-2 ?   As the size of individual schemes increases, this solution will scale to accommodate DVD-3, etc.

This would require considerable change of the installer program - which
nobody has currently energy and interest to implement.

On Wed, 19 Sep 2018, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> I would, however, support making a limited edition of TL USBs with
> beautiful logos for special purposes: gifts, prizes, promotional
> materials etc.  Not as a substitute for our regular mass-produced

That of course is easily possible. One could have two or three types
(Windows - Mac - Unix) and format it with different file systems.

On Wed, 19 Sep 2018, Michael Shell wrote:
> USB drives can be partitioned just like regular hard drives. So, they
> can carry multiple filesystems. However, we would want to do this in a
> way that minimizes redundancy. 

That is the *only* possible option: partition, copy everything two

One *could* reuse some parts of the vfat (windows) part for the Unix
installation and only take the bin/* part from a dedicated Unix 
partition (for the links), but that again needs serious work on the
installer, currently a no-go.

> We could even go with 32GB USB units, and/or expect the unix systems
> to be able to mount FAT32 and/or NTFS filesystems.

As said, NTFS would be definitely fine, but MacOS does not support it
AFAIR. At least the version I had and tested needed third-party 
drivers installed. (See above for new infos)

> Alternatively, I would even consider a more radical approach - use the
> linux ext2 filesystem to carry the vast bulk of the files and then
> include a partition(s) with drivers to allow ext2 to be read under

No no and no ... 



PREINING Norbert                               http://www.preining.info
Accelia Inc.     +    JAIST     +    TeX Live     +    Debian Developer
GPG: 0x860CDC13   fp: F7D8 A928 26E3 16A1 9FA0 ACF0 6CAC A448 860C DC13

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