[tex-live] e-TeX schedule

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Aug 15 03:24:54 CEST 2004

>>>>> "Gerben" == Gerben Wierda <Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl> writes:

    > I understand from another discussion that kpathsea is getting
    > download capabilities. I do not recall reading discussions on
    > that on this list.  Has it been discussed/described on another
    > list so that I can have a look?

    > The reason is that the Mac TeX working group is talking with
    > Apple about a small chance of including TeX by default on the
    > next Mac OS release, but we would have to investigate any
    > instrument that keeps the initial distribution small. As someone
    > who has implemented download strategies (and knows some of the
    > caveats) over the last years, I might be able to contribute,
    > maybe.

Don't know how small it must be.  But wouldn't it be sufficient if the
programs can read compressed files?  It is probably much easier to
implement than the downloading code.  Most of the files contain text.
Thus, compression is quite efficient.

There are some files you can omit, for instance the afm files.

Maybe you can omit most of the fonts and some format files like
Context.  If a TeX files requires a particular font (a tfm file), a
script is called.  It shouldn't be too difficult to patch the script
to support the download.

The same can be done with fmtutil.  Context and the Czech, Polish and
French stuff can be downloaded on demand.

The downloading stuff is quite difficult for security reasons.  Either
you put the files into the user's directory tree, which means that
some users have to download the same files, or you have to set
permissions of the texmf tree to 1777.  This is ok for tfm and pk
files, but tex files can be dangerous with the advent of \write18. 

Uncompression of files can either be done on the fly, which is quite
safe if kpathsea uses libz, or it can be done by a script which calls
a setuid program which does nothing else then uncompress files in the
texmf tree.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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