[tex-live] Updating packages over the internet a la MiKTeX

Sebastian Rahtz sebastian.rahtz at computing-services.oxford.ac.uk
Sat Jun 5 22:21:45 CEST 2004

Gerben Wierda wrote:

> MiKTeX (http://miktex.sourceforge.net) keeps a set of .cab files (some 
> sort of archive format for windows) which are submitted by a 
> community. These archive files are on every CTAN mirror, btw. There is 
> probably also an index somewhere. A MiKTeX installation knows which 
> versions of those archives it has installed and can thus detect if 
> there is a newer version of a (La)TeX package available. It can even 
> install a missing package when this is detected during a TeX run. It 
> does not rely on source distribution for (La)TeX packages as there is 
> no generic way of installing these. Not all have a "install.ins" file 
> for instance and some even require some technical intervention. Hence, 
> MiKTeX lets its developer community do the install, create an archive 
> for that and distribute *that*.
> So, what is needed is a set of archives (not unpacked as implementing 
> downloading will be a problem) that can be installed in a texmf tree 
> and that have versioning.

you have the information needed for that in TL already. for package X, 
read the corrresponding TPM file, which has
the dates in. Compare with your local copy of the TPM file. If needed, 
fetch the files.

you say "not unpacked as implementing downloading will be a problem"; if 
thats an issue, write a service on a TL mirror
which packages up files in a zip or cab format on demand.

Yes, I know this needs several utility packages to be written, and I am 
not volunteering, but it strikes me
as fairly straightforward to implement.


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