[tex-live] Comment on Re: TeXLive-CD/DVD (Installation)

Oliver Bandel oliver at first.in-berlin.de
Wed May 23 12:03:20 CEST 2007

On Tue, May 22, 2007 at 07:14:54PM -0600, Nelson H. F. Beebe wrote:
> If a simple, freely-distributable, standalone POSIX shell for Windows
> (NT, ME, 2000, XP, VISTA, ...) could be found, along with the set of
> several dozen command-line utilities required by POSIX, then an
> installer written as a POSIX shell script could easily handle all
> current platforms on which TeX Live is likely to be installed.

But there is no such shell. If there would be one that at least runs
on all systems, it also must be installed there.
The problem is the same as we have now.

One thing that is pro Scripting-language is, that
the shell-commands that differ from shell to shell
(and where a ln -s from bash to sh might help in most
 language constructs but not all constructs) should
be avoided, so that only a subset will be used, which other
(similar) shells can also read.

In Scripting languages (e.g. Perl) you have the advantage
to have many built-in possibilities that a shell has not,
or at least is not used in the install-tl.sh.
It uses many subshells and uses a lot of commands
(sed, grep and so on). This is an ugly hack. It is not only
time consuming (ressourcs needd for so much fork/exec's),
it also is not easy to read.

Perl-code not automatically is better readable ;-)
but the many nested calls of sub-shells with helper
applications also is a workaround-way of programming, IMHO.

Perl has the big advantage that it is very widespread today.
OCaml has the advantage that it is very high level and it's
draconic type checks disallows you many errors. And you
can create binaries for the most platforms. But you can use bytcode also.
Or run it as interpreted code.
(The binary has one advantage: completely independent of the

Did you tried to make binaries from Perl-Code? ;-)

BTW: If we have people here, who also have Windows-C-Compilers,
than for Windows we could also provide OCaml-code as binaries.

IMHO this is very flexible.

For me the most urging problem therefore is not, which langauge to choose,
but how the installation-procdure could be done best.

I now will reread the tex-dl-Thread and look for the ideas, the people
provided there to make the installation better (e.g. better dvd-image).
I will gather the stuff and translate to english then and send it to this
list here.


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