[tex-live] Script to update packages

François Charette fcharette at ankabut.net
Mon Mar 12 12:29:55 CET 2007

Reinhard Kotucha wrote :
 > "François"  <firmicus at ankabut.net> writes:
 >   > Well, I have written a shell script, based on install-pkg.sh that
 >   > comes with the live CD, to automate this task. Provided the
 >   > package has been also updated on the TeX Live SVN repository
 >   > (which in most cases happens soon after), the script will fetch
 >   > the necessary files from the tug.org/texlive server via rsync. I
 >   > doubt this would potentially create bandwidth problems, but Karl
 >   > should definitively tell us whether this is acceptable or not.
 > The packages and tpm files are updated in the repository only and no
 > zip files are created at this point.  The zip files you downloaded
 > from ftp://ftp.tug.org/texlive/Contents/inst are exactly the same
 > files which are on the CD.  Downloading any files from there is not
 > necessary.

I know that! But this is not the default option, which is to fetch the 
updated files using rsync. (I have put the --zip option mainly for my 
private use since I have never downloaded the ISO image, as I made my 
own custom installation via rsync and compilation from source in 
parallel to my effort of packaging texlive for Arch Linux. With the 
--zip option I can also install any TeX Live package without requiring 
the CD. So yes, this option is unlikely to be useful to other users).

 > I also doubt that it is a good idea to make package updates from files
 > in the repository.  You can never be sure that they are working
 > properly.  I remember that recently a package had been moved from one
 > directory to another one.  In this case you probably end up with two
 > different versions in different directories and it is unclear which
 > one will be found by tex.
 > Using files from the repository makes sense for testing only.
 > However, testers are always welcome.  In this case I recommend to use
 > rsync to keep the system up-to-date.  A lot of bandwidth and time can
 > be saved if people copy the content of the CD first to the Master
 > directory before they run rsync initially.
 > Being able to update TeXLive packages would be nice.  However, I
 > thought a lot about this in the past.  TeXLive is simply a lot of
 > work, most of the work is done by Karl, and I do not see that anybody
 > has enough time to maintain package updates.
 > I also do not think that everybody has to have always the latest
 > releases.  If some package on the CD is completely broken I think
 > it's sufficient if the author sends a fixed version to CTAN.  It
 > should be TDS-1.1 compliant so that it can be installed easily.
 > Of course, a package updating system would be nice, but I fear that it
 > costs too much time.

I perfectly agree with all of your points, but you should bear in mind 
that my script does not mess up with your TeX Live installation and does 
not overwrite anything. The updated files are rather placed either in 
$TEXMFLOCAL or $TEXMFHOME. So if the updated package causes trouble you 
can easily remove it, and the previous version will continue to work as 
before. And if you can identify the problem and inform the maintainer of 
the package and/or the maintainers of TeXLive, then everybody will benefit.

As I hope I made clear in my initial posting, I just wrote a modest 
utility for my own use and sent it to the list because I thought some 
people might find it useful. It is far beyond my intention to develop a 
package management system for TL, though I think adapting the MikTeX 
package manager for TL is a promising avenue.


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