[tex-live] Perl for Windows

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Mon Jun 19 05:06:53 CEST 2006

>>>>> "Hans" == Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> writes:

  > gnwiii at gmail.com wrote:
  >> If you want reliability, use Cygwin or run linux in a virtual
  >> machine.  Don't forget that Win XP is now reasonably mature,
  >> while new Win32 versions are coming into play.
  > hm, interestingly cygwin always gave me problems so whenever i
  > need something i stick to usin gthe dll + some prog only
  >> 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.  Any tools you provide may break at any
  >> 2nd

Cygwin is a self contained environment.  You can run programs which
are not in this environment, but it doesn't make much fun.  I assume
that copying programs and the DDLs they need to a Windows environment
doesn't make much fun too.  There are differences in path delimiters
and line breaks as well.  Cygwin is a nice thing unless you leave this
environment.  It is not made for people who prefer the Windows GUI.

But for TeXLive cygwin is not an option.  That would mean that TL has
to provide the complete cygwin distribution, which is impossible.
And it doesn't solve the original problem.

As far as Perl is concerned, I think it's best when the installer

* installs Perl provided by TeXLive unless there is a Perl already

* gathers some information about the existing Perl (i.e., is Tk.pm
  installed?) and asks the user how to proceed.

That would be helpful, I dont't think that much more can be done.

  > i assume that the perspective of problems is related to what one
  > favourite platform is -)

Maybe.  But there are subtle differences, though.

  > my biggest problem with perl (on *any* platform) is that one can
  > never be sure what libraries are installed; one cannot assume user
  > swho want to run out of the box to locate (and install) additional
  > stuff

Since we know what we need for TL, it shouldn't be too difficult to
check with "perl -e".  Everything can be checked this way.

  > i think that (at least in the past) the problem was with the
  > library paths; also, installing a new perl (or gs) without
  > uninstalling the old thing is also a cause for problems (on linux
  > there is a similar problems with gs, where one can end up with
  > mismatches between fonts and ps lib files on the one hand and
  > binaries on the other depending on where things are expected and
  > what env vars are set [i sometimes solve that by using the latest
  > windows stuff in combination with the generated latest linux bins]

I don't see any problems here.  On my old machine I have 35 versions
of ghostscript installed, on the new machine there are 24 versions
(don't want to install ancient libraries any more) and there are no
problems.  I can select a particular version by setting an environment
variable, for instance:

   GS=7.05 gv somefile.ps

   GS=6.52 gs -help

   Search path:
     . : /opt/ghostscript/fonts : /opt/ghostscript/local :

My wrapper script even allows me to say:

   for version in `gs --versions`; do
       GS=$version epstopdf infile.eps outfile.ps 

It is pretty simple to do such things under Linux.

I also have several TeX distributions, of course.  This is also very
easy under Linux.  The shell script TL2005 starts a new shell with a
different environment (and a different prompt).

I also have different versions of acroread, xpdf... 

I don't know much about Windows, but under Linux you can do almost

  > anyhow, i think that nowadays os's have become monster apps and
  > the fact that programs from all kind of parties needs to cooperate
  > must be a maintainers nightmare

Yes, but I'm amazed that everything works so well under Linux.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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