[tex-live] preview.sty / tlmgr vs AucTeX

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Tue Mar 9 13:27:48 CET 2010

On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 5:17 AM, Axel E. Retif <axel.retif at mac.com> wrote:
> On  9 Mar, 2010, at 01:55, David Kastrup wrote:
>> Reinhard Kotucha <reinhard.kotucha at web.de> writes:
>> [...]
>> preview.sty is a standalone style and used by numerous other packages
>> such as pst-pdf.sty.
> Yes ---as I said in other post, I've used it for TikZ pictures.
>> The Emacs subsystem AUCTeX (which includes preview-latex) has provisions
>> to install a private version preview.sty into the Emacs source tree and
>> use that for Emacs-internal operation.
> This is what Seiji Zenitani does in his Carbon Emacs for the Mac (but, alas!, v22.x, that's why I also build Emacs for the Mac from CVS).
>> If Debian's Emacs installation (which is a black art for itself) chooses
>> not to avail itself of this but installs another preview.sty somewhere
>> else
> No, I never meant that ---everything is hand-installed and -build ---TeXLive, Emacs, and AucTeX, and completely independent one from another (well, not completely ---AucTeX asks for Emacs and a TeX distribution if it can't find them, of course). First, TeXLive from TUG, then Emacs from http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/, and last AucTeX from http://www.gnu.org/software/auctex.
> I didn't use Debian's repositories at all!
> So it is AucTeX from http://www.gnu.org/software/auctex that installs preview.sty et al. in a different branch than tlmgr, when using just configure / make / make install. Of course I could specify in options for configure which TeXLive branch to use, but if it worked ``out of the box'', why bother?

I think the key point here is that AucTeX source installer (e.g.,
configure) should assume preview.sty may have been installed by the
TeX distro or some package manager.   Certainly configure can do some
tests for an existing preview.sty, but there are potential problems:

1.  some other uses of preview.sty might break when a newer version is installed

2.  for people like me who routinely have multiple versions of TL
(distro, svn, etc.) preview.sty might not be the same in all distros,
so whatever install-time check is done would be incomplete.   If I'm
trying to keep a stable snapshot of TL for some long-term project
(book) and use preview.sty there is a potential for breakage whenever
the system AucTeX is updated.

I would prefer that the default with "configure; make ; make install"
be "--without-texmf"
to put preview.sty in the lisp directories for the exclusive use of
AucTeX (e.g., with
adjustment to TEXINPUTS).   Even then, if there are version clashes
with other uses
of preview.sty this could cause some problems for emacs users, who
might need to
selectively disable auctex for some documents.

> And, by the way, thank you for AucTeX ---I'm sure the next book I copy-edit/produce will be done completely in Emacs with AucTeX.

A number of people who abandoned TeX over a decade ago, in part because latex
sources are "hard to read",  have expressed surprise when they see a document
loaded in a modern emacs environment with auctex.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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