[tex-live] Re: Debian-TeXlive Proposal II

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Mon Jan 31 17:43:05 CET 2005

Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> schrieb:

> Frank Küster wrote:
>> I do not suggest that tex-live should stop separating TEXMFMAIN and
>> TEXMFDIST. I only suggest that the *Debian* packages of tex-live drop
>> that separation (or I ask why they should keep it).
> i see no problem in merging them when installing; however, for the
> sake of upgrading, it makes sense to leave texmfdist settings in
> texmf.cnf untouched and take precedence over texmfmain; that way
> updates that unpack in the dist subtree will be seen first

You mean, you suggest that we move all files to TEXMFMAIN, but create an
empty directory referenced by TEXMFDIST?  What would be the benefit of
this approach?  

Local administrators should never put any files below /usr/share on a
Debian system, and Debian packages shouldn't use TEXMFDIST, either. What
would I gain by starting to support TEXMFDIST?

P.S. The reason why Debian packages must install add-on files into the
same trees as tetex/tex-live does is that it would generally be a bug to
shadow a file provided by the main TeX package.  If packages generally
installed files into a different tree, I fear such bugs would occur
frequently, between teTeX/tex-live and add-on packages, or between two
add-on packages, one of which installs into TEXMFMAIN, the other into
the new TEXMFDIST.

We do consider to provide an additional tree for packages that
deliberately want to provide newer versions of input files than in teTeX
(or tex-live), especially for things that are under heavy development,
like the experimental to-be-LaTeX-3 packages (xkeyval...), or perhaps
new things like beamer. 

But this is a different concept than what TEXMFDIST was designed for.
First, it's not about easily replacing files, it's about deliberately
shadowing them.  Second, it is a problem that only occurs on a
distribution with some kind of package management system.  If you
install teTeX or tex-live manually, either you update the complete texmf
tarball (which is easier using TEXMFDIST), or you install updated
packages into LOCALTEXMF. On Debian, however, there is a third option:
Someone else does the installation for you, and you only pick the
package from the package manager. This cannot go into LOCALTEXMF (which
is still the realm of the local administrator), and it cannot go into
TEXMFMAIN (or TEXMFDIST if it exists), because one package may not
override an other ones files.

Regards, Frank

Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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