[tex-live] Debian Packages of TeXlive

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Wed Jan 12 18:18:47 CET 2005

Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> wrote:

> ATM we have around 75 collections, and around 1000 packages. These
> packages include more or less everything which is available at CTAN (and
> what Sebastian is able to submit again and again!).

I know - this (and the reliable release cycle) is why I would be happy
to see tex-live in Debian.

> Besides the collections there are tpm files for binaries, hyphens, and
> libraries. Libraries are NOT used in TeXlive/linux, all the binaries are
> linked statically against most libraries (but dynamically against X11
> and libc, libm).

Debian policy requires that all binaries are dynamically linked if a
shared library is available. The reason for this is not so much memory
usage, but rather easier maintanance: especially when a security problem
occurs in one library, we need not recompile all packages, just the
library. Obvious execptions are things like xpdf in pdftex - there is no
proper library (yet?), and in fact it *is* a security nightmare.

> Due to the huge amount of packages, we (at least Sebastian Rathz, Karl
> Berry and myself) decided that it is a good idea to make 
> 	collections	->	debian packages
> 	dependencies on collections	->	debian dependencies
> 	dependencies on packages	->	includsion of the files
> That means, that we would have one deb for every collection, which
> includes:
> - all the files directly mentioned in the collection
> - all the packages required by the collection, i.e. all the files
>   that are mentioned in packages required by the collection

Did I understand right - this would mean/have meant 75 packages? I'd
rather reduce this.

> On Die, 11 Jan 2005, Frank Küster wrote:
>> 1. First of all, you should decide whether you really want (a) only an
>>    easy, automated method of installing TeXLive on a Debian system and
>>    of telling the package managment that now some TeX system is
>>    available, or rather (b) a proper Debian package.
> Of course, on the long run (b). But to be honest, I see severe problems
> with the way texlive is maintained: I would generate the packages from
> the files already located in their proper places in the texmf tree, not
> directly from sources as downloaded from CTAN. This work of updating the
> texmf trees in TeXlive is left to some of us, mostly Sebastian. Thus, we
> for sure will have problems in providing a source package, because
> although the structure of the stuff obtained from CTAN is often the
> same, in fact every single CTAN-package has to be treated more or less
> specifically.

I don't see the problem here. When you release tex-live, there is some
defined state of your version control system (btw, is it publically
accessible for reading?) that you declare as "the release". You generate
a filesystem from this and burn it on CD. You can as well pack the
filesystem[1] into a tar.gz, and that would be the Debian source package
(together with a *dsc file and the diff.gz with the instructions to
create the debs). Alternatively, if you sometimes make pre-releases or
snapshots for internal development of only parts of the repository, or
if you fear disk size problems (tex-live needs a DVD, doesn't it?), you
could create a few couple of orig.tar.gz files, for example sources for
binaries, input files for LaTeX and "generic" input files, input files
for other formats.

By the way, how do you create the files from dtx files and install them
in the texmf tree - is this automated, or done by hand as in teTeX? What
about documentation?

One more thougt, again citing you:

> ATM we have around 75 collections, and around 1000 packages. These
> packages include more or less everything which is available at CTAN (and
> what Sebastian is able to submit again and again!).

What about licenses and the requirement to be Free Software? There are a
couple of files on CTAN which are distributable, but have certain
restrictions that go beyond what LPPL does. 

> What I would like to have for NOW is a mixture of (a) and (b). We want
> reach proper inclusion in debian soon, but we should right from the
> beginning at least try to do it the debian way.

Hm. I'd like to have a look at the way you currently build your
debs. And before deciding on the architecture question, we need to get
clear the dependency structure, as outlined in my previous mails.

Regards, Frank

[1] note that according to Debian policy, orig.tar.gz files should be as
pristine as possible, being not only the source for Debian packages, but
at the same time also a repository of free software. As such, they also
include OS-specific stuff that is not needed on Linux.
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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