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

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Thu Feb 13 00:12:49 CET 2014

On 2014-02-12 at 14:51:16 +0100, Denis Bitouzé wrote:

 > Le mercredi 12/02/14 à 21h13,
 > Norbert Preining <preining at logic.at> a écrit :
 > > * use
 > > 	tlmgr conf texmf TEXMFPROJECT /my/path/foo/bar
 > > [...] 
 > > Remove:
 > > * remove TEXMFPROJECT setting
 > > 	(not implemented) tlmgr conf texmf TEXMFPROJECT --clear
 > Here is my way for experimental stuffs:
 > Add:
 >   tlmgr conf texmf TEXMFHOME "~/texmf-test:~/texmf"
 > Remove:
 >   tlmgr conf texmf TEXMFHOME "~/texmf"

This sounds good.  The advantage of TEXMFHOME is that no ls-R files
are involved.  This is fine for experimental stuff.  Another advantage
is tilde expansion, which helps to keep the value of TEXMFHOME small.   

As far as TEXMFLOCAL is concerned, I doubt that I want to maintain it
this way.  I have eight extra texmf trees ATM and since I always have
to specify the full path, a two-step approach is more convenient:


TEXMFEXTRA={<list of the trees above>}

Sure, I could achieve the same with

  tlmgr conf texmf TEXMFLOCAL ...

too, but imagine the length of "...".  It's more convenient to use a
text editor in order to maintain texmf.cnf.  It's also easy easy to
disable a tree, it's sufficient to comment out a particular TEXMFxxx

However, your approach is fine if you only have one or two extra trees
in TEXMFHOME.  Otherwise you have to type too much if there are many
trees and you only want to remove one of them.  Regarding TEXMFLOCAL,
I doubt that anybody want to maintain it this way.

Anyway, I'm still convinced that your approach is perfect and that
nothing has to be added to tlmgr's CLI.   Those who enjoy the CLI
certainly enjoy text editors too.

But for things like this a GUI could be quite useful.  Suppose that
the current value of TEXMFHOME is


Then the GUI could split the list and display:

 [X] ~/texmf
 [X] ~/texmf-pgf
 [X] ~/texmf-luaotfload

It's obviously very easy to remove a particular tree.  It's more
difficult to add another one because the order matters.  Either one
one has to be able to prepend, append, or insert a new path (the
latter is the most difficult one), or a new path is always appended
and the order can be changed later (click on an entry and push a
[move~up] or [move~down] button). 
As far as I understand what Ulrike is doing, it makes much more sense
to allow to change the search order because it allows to compare two
versions of, say luaotfload.  If you remove a tree from TEXMFHOME and
start tlmgr again in order to re-activate it, you have to type the
path again each time.

TEXMFLOCAL could be maintaned this way too because there will be no
need to type the whole list of paths at once.  It doesn't even clash
with my approach because I don't modify TEXMFLOCAL.

Though I usually prefer the command line, I think that this is a good
example where a GUI has some advantages.  In order to achieve the same
feature on the command line, always two steps are necessary:

  1. Display the list with indices

        (1) ~/texmf
        (2) ~/texmf-pgf
        (3) ~/texmf-luaotfload

  2. Provide commands which modify TEXMF* variables and accept indices
     as arguments.


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