[tex-live] (no subject)

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sat Sep 22 14:23:58 CEST 2018

On Sat, 22 Sep 2018 at 02:04, Norbert Preining <norbert at preining.info> wrote:
> 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:

Very helpful, but if the extra space is to be used for less popular
platforms then we do need to consider USB support on less popular

> 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
> "binaries".

So an all-platforms USB would have to be a "mirror" of tlnet.
The installer (install-tl.{tar.gz,zip}) would have to be extracted
to a native filesystem and run using the USB drive location
in the installer's "-repository" option.  This is a bit complex
for many users who have become accustomed to installing
from an App Store.

> 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).
Correct, but there are many older, mostly 32-bit, Macs still running Snow

> 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.

These newer systems don't need the binaries for less popular OS's,
so the audience is users who have a recent system (USB 3 but no
DVD drive), and limited internet.

> 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.

The future seems to be thin and light systems with USB 3 but without
DVD drives, so such tests would be useful.   It would help to collect
data on the performance of USB installs using current USB 3 hardware.
https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-usb-3-0-thumb-drive/ has some
information on the current state of USB flash drives.  My experience with
DVD installs is very limited, but as I recall they were very slow.   Users
could buy external USB DVD drives, but if they are only going to use a
DVD drive for TL installs then USB flash drives are probably cheaper and

> 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.

If the number of TL users with access to DVD readers is, as I suspect,
in decline,
investing in a multi-DVD installer won't have long-term benefits.  The
older systems
that can use DVD's probably include many of the 32-bit OS's that will
loose out if
the DVD's going forward only support current mainstream 64-bit OS's.


George N. White III

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