[tex-live] Running Live - no access to C drive (emacs approach)

poti giannakouros potiatpotisdotorg at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 1 22:25:53 CEST 2007

Hello Siep,
I appreciate your reply and the comments  Reinhard Kotucha
has made following.  

Siep Kroonenberg <siepo at cybercomm.nl> wrote:
> This script requires a reboot. On some lab Macs I have used,
> a reboot reset all user settings. I don't know if this is a likely
> scenario in a Windows lab, and it does not apply to our NT lab
> so this is an approach I can use for some things.

The lines above merely create a temporary environment for generating
formats and mapfiles. The real configuration takes place earlier, by
writing to the registry. I tested things under Windows XP and
Windows 2000, and in those tests a re-login was sufficient.

This is a problem for our location. Lab users cannot
write to the registry. Parts of the ghostscript installation
and dviout installation done by tlpmgui issued warnings
when they got to apparently non-critical stages that I think
involved writing to the registry. I have not been to the
lab to test yet though.

I am working on a web page about portable TeX Live and MikTeX, with
revised scripts and howtos. It might be useful to include a
zero-config solution where you start up a command prompt or an
editor with the right environment settings, somewhat in the spirit
of your Emacs solution. I would have to test how much functionality
could be made available this way.
I look forward to your site and am glad to help in testing if you
need, and of course to provide my emacs approach if you find it is

I had something in mind that I can give to people for use at
arbitrary locations, so that is why I prefer to put in some tests.
Adding Ghostscript and an editor is the right idea. But for an
editor I would pick something like TeXnicCenter, which has a wider
 I have committed to giving at least one poster presentation on my 
project, of which this is a part, at statistical conferences this summer 
based on what I already have working in our lab. Because of emacs' 
inter-operation with major statistical packages, I anticipate the emacs 
specific approach will be of interest to my audience. However, having 
a non-emacs approach may be of interest to some, in which case 
having your work to reference will be valuable for me.

You mentioned to Reinhard Kotucha in another part of this thread using
tlpmgui. My own thought with regard to tlpmgui was to see if it could
have an option for configuring a master for a zero config DVD. That
is, to automate what I have done, starting with the contents of the DVD
image on writable media, installing into the TeX Live root hierarchy all 
necessary auxiliary software (perhaps including the emacs source already 
on the DVD? This gets complicated on Windows and last time I tried from 
source on OS X), performing necessary configuration, such
as setting paper defaults appropriately and inserting the emacs
startup file, and possibly the ini file to launch the editor on
DVD insertion as you suggest.

Given that I already have non-TeX related motivation for overcoming
barriers to working in emacs, the emacs context may provide some
advantages. Regarding conflicting installations, I think for some
things, exec-path may determine what binaries are used. If that is not
enough to circumvent problems, I think I may be able to prepend to
%PATH%.  Furthermore, it looks like I will be able to do tests on 
environment variables provided to emacs that will allow me to
make this zero-config approach work on OSX and Linux as well. 

I have worked through the emacs lisp documentation to the point that I 
believe I have all the pieces I need to make things work and will get to 
the lab starting this evening to start putting a generalized version of the 
DVD together. The emacs binaries are a constraint, making a lab specific 
DVD easier than an arbitrary location DVD. The relatively large size of a 
DVD opens these interesting possibilities, but there is a limit. In my own
project, I am right up against the maximum size. I need to look into weather
the ISO file system imposes even tighter constraints that I do not yet 
understand. I am still learning about re-distribution licenses, but perhaps 
distributing a pair of DVDs in a jewel case could make more space by putting 
source files on the second DVD.

And personally I wouldn't worry too much about dvi viewing
if Ghostscript is available for converting to pdf.
Siep Kroonenberg
I will look into your suggestion about Ghostscript as an alternative
to a dvi viewer. I thought about finding out how to change the AUCTeX
default from latex and dvi to pdflatex and a pdf viewer. But then I
had difficulty using Acrobat as the viewer, and set that aside.

-Poti Giannakouros

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