[tex-live] Packaging TeXlive as Debian packages

Norbert Preining preining at logic.at
Tue Jan 11 08:44:32 CET 2005

Hi Gavin!

(Sebastian: There is an idea below about packaging, please comment)

On Mon, 10 Jan 2005, Gavin McCullagh wrote:
> As a huge Debian/APT fan and a maintainer of a TeX Live network system I
> cannot stress how much I dream of this project coming to fruition.  Please,

The same situation applies to me.

> would love to see this done and would be interested to put some time into
> helping, even if only as a tester.  

Good. I put you on my list of testers.

> 0. Once --- in a dream --- I considered doing this unofficially myself.
> However, I simply wouldn't have had the time or expertise.  My strategy
> would have been to start off with a small number of very large packages
> (tl-bin-i386, tl-fonts, ...) and to gradually fork them into smaller ones

We will go a bit different path: Packaging collections into debian
packages including all files which are Required by these collections.
Dependencies on other collections are done via Debian Depends.
So bottom line: There will be debian packages for those tpm files in
Master/texmf/tpm/ (but not the scheme- stuff).

> I doubt one could automate creation of updated Debian packages when the
> existing tree gets updated.  However, it would be far more plausible to go

Well, up to now it looks not too bad.

> 1. It is very important (for me) to be able to install binaries for several
> architectures.  We keep a central tree which many users on different OSes

Hmm. This seems hard to be done. AFAIS debian has built in architecture
management. But see below.

> possibly with a dummy tl-bin package which selects the correct one from the
> above.  I'm unsure of the correct Debian location for foreign binaries

Are there? I have to check this. I am *not* a DD and only have packaged
a few debs.

> 2. It is important in Debian packaging to use the correct locations (docs
> in /usr/share/docs; binaries in /usr/bin; etc etc).  However, the way we do
> things currently is to have the single texlive/ directory shared over samba
> and nfs.  This would be messy if things are spread out properly as per
> Debian rules.  

Hmm. Now that you mention this, I see that we have exactely the same
problem. We have /usr/TeX-live which is shared via nfs to our 10+
diskless clients and used on the server, too. The debian way seems to be
a mess here.

But I guess I have an idea: Maybe we can do the following:
We have packages:
The bin-<arch> install the binaries into
and the tl-XXXX-bin creates symlinks to /usr/bin for the right binaries.
This way you could share the /usr/share/texlive tree, and just have to
add the the right path.

It is still not perfect since it does not fit into the debian system
directly, but I have to think about.

> 3. There are several very cool packages in Debian which handle use of
> I would suggest the above method could be used for 3rd party fonts.  It
> would prompt for the tarball or loose pfb/afm files which the user
> provides.  Then it would rename them, place them correctly, create or
> install the correct supporting files (eg Walter Schmidt's) and run texhash.
> In that case 'apt-get install tl-font-support-adobe-baskerville' would be
> the method to install Adobe Baskerville.

Good idea, but not for now I would say. But you can start hacking around
and maybe we can come up with something like this.

> 4. There was a question of what to do when two packages installed the same
> files.  I believe the general strategy in Debian is to create a xxxx-common

Solved. We ignore Package->Package dependencies in the tpm files since
they are sooo rare (now only at 4 cases).

For your information: I have made .debs for all the collection and
binaries automatically, but I have to fix several things before I can
ask you for a short run on it.

Best wishes


Norbert Preining <preining AT logic DOT at>         Technische Universität Wien
sip:preining at at43.tuwien.ac.at                             +43 (0) 59966-690018
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