[tex-live] Feature request for TL 2014 (or later): Easier installation of local/experimental packages

Ulrike Fischer news3 at nililand.de
Wed Feb 12 10:40:24 CET 2014

I would like to make a feature request for one of the next TeXLive
version: a way to make the installation *and the deinstallation* of
local/non official/development packages (almost) as smooth as the
installation of official packages with tlmgr.

Remark: When I mention miktex solutions here I don't mean that
TeXLive should copy them -- it is quite possible that there is a
better way to my goal. 

Second remark: naturally not every package can be installed in a
simple way - it is quite ok if it has to be in tds.zip-format or if
a xml-file to describe the structure must be present.

I need this for two reasons:

At first I often more than one version of packages like pgf or
luaotfload and have to compare the output or use a specific version
to be able to reproduce a problem. So I need a way to enable and
disable a package fast. It is important here that enabling a package
don't remove/overwrite an existing package. 

In miktex if there is a tds.zip I simply unpack the package in its
own small texmf tree and then add the tree with initexmf
--register-root (and perhaps updmap) and remove it with initexmf
--unregister-root on the command line. 

In TeXLive I add the root to the TEXMF variable in a local texmf.cnf
-- that's ok but not so comfortable: I have to open the file in a
editor, get the correct path (I can't use tab completation there),
save the file, call perhaps mktexlsr and updmap(-sys). 

At second when I write a class or a package or prepare a font for
someone else I would like to make installation easy. 

If the user has a miktex system this is rather straightforward: I
make a tds.zip and tell them to unpack the zip file and attach the
root folder as a new root. 

I haven't yet found a good way for TeXLive. Markus Kohm has set up a
TeXLive repository for his experimental KOMA-versions
(http://www.komascript.de/current), but I can't use this for private
classes and fonts (and it sounds rather complicated anyway to setup
such a repository).

Ulrike Fischer 

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