[tex-live] Perl for Windows

gnwiii at gmail.com gnwiii at gmail.com
Sun Jun 18 14:42:05 CEST 2006

On 6/17/06, Fabrice Popineau <Fabrice.Popineau at supelec.fr> wrote:

> * gnwiii  <gnwiii at gmail.com> writes:
>     > If you want reliability, use Cygwin
> If you want reliability, avoid Cygwin.
> [...]

The win32 animal is so complex (different corporate standard configrations,
different user backgrounds, different hardware, etc.) that we are like
the 3 blind men and the elephant.

>     > or run linux in a virtual machine.
> I am ok with this one. BTW it is a good idea to run any os in a virtual
> machine. It isvery easy and convenient to backup a vmware virtual machine and
> restore it.
>     > It isn't realistic, particularly given the difficulties of doing
>     > development under Win32, to expect TeX to run reliably on a Win32
>     > system chosen at random.
> TeX by itself is a C program and once compiled runs at least as well
> under any current flaovurs of Windows as under any other OS.

Here we are discussing a "TeX system" including the tetex shell
scripts, context perl and ruby scripts, etc.

>     > Any tools you provide may break at any
>     > 2nd Tuesday when MS patches another dozen security flaws.
> Absolutely not. Any TeXlive tools are totally independant of the
> system. The only link is the msvcrt.dll C runtime dll and this one is
> never impacted by these updates. It changes only every couple of
> year. And you still may use the old versions, because Windows will pick
> the version provided in your TeX binary directory if there is one, even
> if other programs are using a more recent one.

I guess this is the key issue for 3rd party tools (such as perl).
Most of these tools come from linux/unix and have support for graphics
(perl-Tk) and networking that must be difficult or impossible to
implement in Win32 using only msvcrt.   We have getnonfreefonts and
texsync that use file transfer tools.

> I'll stop there. This is a never ending discussion.

I suppose the take-home lesson is that the Win32 animal is so diverse
that no single solution will meet every need.  In the end, if there is
a large group with similar requirements, they will find ways to port a
TeX system, so the main thing is to minimize collateral damage when
making changes to core programs.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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