[tex-live] TeX Live Installer -- pregeneration of formats

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sat Jun 7 01:17:02 CEST 2008

Frank Küster writes:
 > Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> wrote:
 > > Dear all,
 > >
 > > I just wanted to inform you that the installer for TeX Live 2008 will by
 > > default pre-generate all formats.
 > >
 > > There is a long history about this problem, but finally we came to the
 > > conclusion that it is better that way (or the lesser of two evils).
 > What does "pre-generate" actually mean?  That the formats will be copied
 > from the CD, even if it's not a Live CD?

Hi Frank,
format files are still generated on the target system and are not part
of the distribution.

There is an installer option (also in older installers) which allows
you to decide whether the installer should generate all format files.
Otherwise they are created automatically on demand.  

Only the default value of the changed.  The reason for this change is
best explained by example:

Ben Lee User is using some kind of TeX shell and doesn't notice that
format files are created in his HOME directory when he runs latex the
first time.  Then he notices that hyphenation patterns for a
particular language are missing and asks his admin.  But even if the
admin installs the package, it still doesn't work for L.User.

 > I guess that this saves you from the weirdness we had with jadetex and
 > friends?

Not really, format files *have* to be created either during installation
or later.  Since many poeple asked for it, there is a new installer
option now which allows you to change the default paper size from A4
to letter.  Some format files have to be re-created then.

What is the problem with jadetex?  The only difference between jadetex
and other formats I see is that latex.fmt must exist before
jadetex.fmt is created.

If this really causes a lot of trouble, you could ask Sebastian to add
the line

    \input latex.ltx

to [pdf]jadetex.ini.  "&latex" can then be removed from fmtutil.cnf.
It doesn't matter then in which order format files are created. 

On the other hand, for TL-2008 I'd like to avoid big changes unless
they are unavoidable.  I regard this one as a "big" change because too
many people are involved: [pdf]jadetex.ini has to be changed on CTAN
while fmtutil.cnf is maintaned in TeX Live repository.

The most important new feature in TeX Live 2008 is that TL for Windows
is not treated as a single-user system any more, everything which
worked for Unix in the past works for Windows too.  I think that the
challenge for TL-2009 is to port all of Thomas' shell scripts (and the
files Fabrice ported to Perl and C) to texlua.  It turned out that
texlua is the ideal platform for portable scripts in the TeX world.

When we port fmtutil to texlua, we certainly stumble across this
issue.  We could discuss it with Sebastian, but in my opinion it's
the wrong approach.  Since what Sebastian did is correct, I think that
a new version of fmtutil should calculate dependencies.  I don't know
what the current version of fmtutil does but I have not enough time to

Frank, last question:  Do you think that the problems with jadetex are
so severe that something has to be changed in TL-2008?  Hopefully not.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
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.

More information about the tex-live mailing list