[tex-live] tlmgr query

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Sat Jul 25 12:10:44 CEST 2009

2009/7/24 Rowland McDonnell <rjmmnet-lists at yahoo.co.uk>:
>>Some answers ...
> ...
> Now, I wish to maintain compatibility with all my old documents.  That
> means any new TeX system I install must be modified to work
> appropriately.
It can be done once for ever quite easily

> The modifications I need to do are:
> Unplug Babel

Babel is not hardwired into LaTeX, it's just a package with a lot of
files. If you do not put \usepackage[languages]{babel} into your
document, it will not be loaded.

> Plug in some additional founts
> Add a local system-wide additional TEXMF tree.
That's texmf-local. TL (= TeX Live) is installed in a directory named
/some/path/texlive and it contains separate directory for each year
and a few directories for each year (texmf, texmf-dist, texmf-var).
Besides the directories for each year /some/path/texlive contains
texmf-local which is the system-wide local TEXMF tree. Its contents
will not be deleted when you install the next TL release.

Now the directory structure. It follows TDS (= TeX Directory
Structure). You can find a lengthy document about it. You can find
internals on file searching in the documentation of kpathsea. However,
heving spent a few minutes lookikg into texmf-dist and playing with
kpsewhich you will be able to pout your files to texmf-local even
without reading the documentation. I do not say that you should not
read it, I am just describing the fast and easy way.

Assume you want to install a font family, you have tfm and pfb files.
First try that you know how to use kpsewhich. If everything is OK, the
following commands should find Computer Modern:

kpsewhich cmr10.tfm
kpsewhich cmr10.pfb

Now look into TL directories. You find texmf-dist/fonts with some
subdirectories. Look into their structure and model the structure in
texmf-local. Kpathsea is configured so that it looks into
subdirectories so that the exact name of the subdirectory with your
files does not matter, it just needs to be in the right place. You
need not have to create lots of branches in texmf-local. Suppose you
wish to install two font families, SomeFontFamily and
AnotherFontFamily. You create directories
texmf-local/fonts/tfm/somefontfamily for tfm files of SomeFontFamily
and texmf-local/fonts/Type1/somefontfamily for pfb files, similarly
for AnotherFontFamily. Next you create somefontfamily.map and
anotherfontfamily.map. You probably have them. If not, read the
documentation of dvips, the syntax is described here. You can also
look into some exixting map. Take a simple one, eg dvng.map (kpsewhich
dvng.map should find it). Put it in the right directory (again, model
it after texmf-dist). Now run mktexlsr. Afterwards kpsewhich should be
able to find your files. Finally it is necessary to inform dvips,
dvipdfm, pdftex etc that the font families are available. You do it by

updmap-sys --enable Map=somefontfamily.map

If your fonts are both Type1 and bitmap, you will use MixedMap instead of Map.

Instaling LaTeX packages is even simpler. The standard packages reside
under texmf-dist/tex/latex. You just create similar directories under
texmf-local, put the files there, run mktexlsr and that's it.

Notice that you do not need tlmgr at all for your additions. The steps
are that simple so that you can do everything just by hand. It is not
necessary to know what a collection is.

TL even contains a few my packages. I have just packed the files to
zip's and uploaded them to CTAN. The TL developers put them somewhere,
I do not even know in which collection they appear. I only know the
they work if TL is installed. Thus you can see that detailed knowledge
s not necessary even for package developers.

> That last part might not be necessary any more, but there was no such
> thing under teTeX and I do not relish the thought of trying to find out
> if there is such a thing supplied with TeXLive's current standard
> setup).
texmf-local was introduced in teTeX many many years ago. In fact it
was there long time before I started to use teTeX.

> It was very easy to do with OzTeX because OzTeX was properly documented

TeX Live _is_ documented, all you need is to read the manuals. I know
C, Perl, Bash and other languages well enough so that I could read
sources of the tools in TL but I have never done it, I have just read
the manuals. When I started to use teTeX, I was accustomed to emTeX
runing under OS/2. I discovered the fast and easy way as described
above and adapted my environment to emTeX within half an hour or so. I
did read the documentation later because I want to do things that
normal users do not need. If you follow my advice, you will be able to
do all you need after an hour or so and you will be able to help other
users since tomorrow.

> (and didn't come with Babel anyway).  I worked it all out myself from
> the supplied documentation without needing any help from anyone.
> Indeed, I used to give help to other OzTeX users and did so much of that
> on the OzTeX-info mailing list that I got an official `thanks' from
> OzTeX's author.  So please do not sneer at me for being ignorant of TeX
> as you have done below - I'm far from it.
> ...
> Unfortunately, the documentation, while significantly better than in the
> past, fails to do what it needs to do.
I started to use TeX in 1991. It was just after Velvet revolution, the
Iron Curtain no longer existed but the market was not established. It
took me 2 years before I managed to buy the TeXbook. Internet was not
available, I had just csearn access over 56kb/s modem, simtel was the
most important source. My first TeX distribution came on 5 1/4"
disquettes. Yet I was always able to find documentation for the whole
system. It is just necessary to read them. They now contain quite a
lot of pages because the nowaday's tools did not exist in 1991 but
everything _is_ documented.

I subscribed TeX some discussion groups in the beginning of 1992.
First I asked questions but after a week I was able to answer someone
else's questions. TeX is really that simple.

>> Anyone having
>>ever prepared a TeX system
> Such as myself.  No, not the heavy duty stuff, but I've put together
> custom TeX distributions based on OzTeX for my own purposes.  And I
> could do that because OzTeX was properly documented.
> (I even once installed emTeX in a non-standard part of the directory
> tree and that took all flippin' weekend, that did.  The next time I
> installed emTeX, it came with instructions which included `Install it
> only in the default location, you'll be glad you did so' and I thought
> `Damned right!')
emTeX's documentation was primarily written for Information
Presentation Facility and then extracted into plain text files for use
in DOS. The device drivers and even mf386 worked better in OS/2
because the system has multiprocessing and multithread support (unlike
DOS). Anyway, for different reasons I never had emTeX on drive C so
that I had to modify environment variables. My first emTeX
installation under DOS started to work after 2 hours or so. I did not
know anyone who could help me, I have just read the documentation that
came with emTeX.

>> knows that this is a huge amount of work,
>>and that a few hours here and there is far from being enough to
>>understand even the surface.
> Thank you for your further illuminating comments.
> I do not need to understand the full details.  I just need to understand
> enough to maintain my TeX system intelligently.  I expect that a few
> weeks of working hard at the job will be enough - if I can find someone
> willing to explain to me the undefined terms that I do not understand.
Less than 2 hours _must_ be enough to make everything running for a
person who knows nothing about TL internals and just needs to put
his/her own files to texmf-local. Afeter a few weeks you will become a
> ...
> I fail to understand the connection you are making between MS Word and a
> TeX installation.
This is (I hope) to demonstrate that you started to go the wrong
directions. You want answers that are useless fr beginners. You can
spend months with tlmgr but it won't help you to maintain your own

>> but with TeX you have at least the chance to
>>understand the internals, if you want to know them.
> You have that chance with MS Word too.  All you have to do is decompile
> the code and work at it.  It just takes reading and a serious investment

And you violate the license.

> of time - nothing more nor less than what you say is needed to
> understand TeXLive.
> In both cases, the vast majority of people are completely incapable of
> figuring anything out that way.
> In the case of TeX, it's *VERY* hard for a newcomer to understand the
> details without an existing expert to talk to to explain the written
> documentation and to guide them through the written sources.  The
> available documentation mostly seems designed only for those who
> understand it already.
No! As I wrote above, I just got disquettes from a colleague of mine.
I have never heard of TeX ago. I have never seen any (La)TeX file.
There was nobody to help me. Within 2 hours emTeX was installed and I
created my first simple LaTeX document. The documentation always
existed and it was written so well that a person with absolutely zero
knowledge could start. But we still repeat the same: locate the
manuals and read them. Find the parts you must read immediatelly, set
up your installation and read the rest later. You should train
yourself to read the manuals that way, it will help you not only with
Zdeněk Wagner

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