[tex-live] tlmgr update --self fails

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Sat Nov 10 02:53:23 CET 2012

Your problem with the documentation is not unique to TeX Live.  The
question of configuring wget for a proxy raises issues well outside the
realm of TeX Live and solidly in the realm of networking.  One of the most
difficult aspects of writing documentation is making clear boundaries
between topics that fall into the scope of the documentation and those that
require familiarity with topics that are best explained by a completely
different set of documents (and one that may require serious effort to
master).  The problem is much like the situation where a driver following
GPS directions end up on a rough trail their vehicle can't negotiate.   If
they report the problem, someone may put up a sign to indicate the trail is
not suitable for all vehicles, but a generic sign can't tell a driver
whether the specific vehicle they have will get stuck.  It is situation
that requires either gearing up for the conditions or getting driections
from someone with local expertise, but we don't seem to have effective ways
to help drivers recognize that failing to do one of the above may lead to

The sort of information you need to configure wget will also be required by
programs other than tlmgr and even for other operation systems.  Many sites
that have proxy servers also provide provide a web page with instructions
on configuring systems to use their proxy server.  There are generic
instructions for linux at <

Conventional documentation often fails in situations where it is not
possible to provide straightforward step-by-step instructions that work for
everyone, e.g., the reader may need to either gear up (which in your case
means arranging some alternate access to the Internet or reading up on
proxy servers and networking configuration) or seek assistance from someone
with knowledge of your network.  In practice, what happens is that some
people get bogged down, but hopefully someone rescues them and they come
away with better understanding of the limitations of their source of
information, whether it is a GPS or a software manual.

On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 7:54 PM, Robert B. Gozzoli <r.b.gozzoli at gmail.com>wrote:

> Dear Norbert and many of the members of the TeXLive group,
> yesterday I was reading through the documentation of TeXLive, as I was
> trying to use my university computer in my office, which is behind a proxy,
> so not allowing me to update my version of TeXLive 2012.
> I am studying ancient Egypt, so I am not a computer specialist. I use the
> documentation however in order to understand whether it was possible to
> overcome the problem.
> I could not understand the Wget reference given in the TeXlive
> documentation.. My office has Windows XP. I Googled here and there, and
> maybe I have understood how to do it. I have disturbed/will disturb some
> other lists about it.
> The problem I see however is that the language in the documentation is
> generically too specialised. I have spent 20 years of life for using the
> computer as an efficient machine, I was not born with it, and my family did
> not have one. LaTeX can be intimidating by its own, but I feel that
> sometime the documentation might be not as helpful as it should be. Some
> more examples should be given to explain some of the points. I may be dull,
> I admit that. But in my stubbornness, I am trying to manage XeLaTeX.
> I am not simply complaining, I would like to give my contribution not for
> the code, I refer to better experts that me, but for the documentation, if
> I can, in order to simplify the life to Humanists like me. At least for the
> parts I can help for.
> If my help is needed, I would be very glad to contribute.
> Roberto Gozzoli,
> Mahidol University International College,
> Thailand
> On 9 November 2012 12:58, Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> wrote:
>> On Fr, 09 Nov 2012, Norbert Preining wrote:
>> > can I asked you some test ... please:
>> Did it myself already. Yes, this is a fix that works.
>> We will push that to tlcritical today and probably to tlnet also.
>> More later.
>> Norbert
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Norbert Preining            preining@{jaist.ac.jp, logic.at, debian.org}
>> JAIST, Japan                                 TeX Live & Debian Developer
>> DSA: 0x09C5B094   fp: 14DF 2E6C 0307 BE6D AD76  A9C0 D2BF 4AA3 09C5 B094
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> ARTHUR  It probably seems a terrible thing to say, but you know what I
>>         sometimes think would be useful in these situations?
>> LINT.   What?
>> ARTHUR  A gun of some sort.
>> LINT.2  Will this help?
>> ARTHUR  What is it?
>> LINT.2  A gun of some sort.
>> ARTHUR  Oh, that'll help. Can you make it fire?
>> LINT.   Er...
>> LINT.   Yes.
>>                  --- Arthur and the Lintillas gaining the upper hand, Fit
>> the
>>                  --- Twelfth.
>>                  --- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

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