[tex-live] lineno.sty in humanities repo rather than base for some reason... can it be changed?

Andy Buckley andy.buckley at cern.ch
Sun Sep 7 18:52:55 CEST 2014

On 06/09/14 22:29, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> On 2014-09-06 at 13:43:47 +0100, Andy Buckley wrote:
>  > Hi,
>  > 
>  > I was trying to figure out why CTAN lists the commonly used lineno
>  > package as in TeXlive, yet it wasn't available on my Ubuntu texlive base
>  > + extras installation. Then I found this blog post:
>  > 
>  > http://shihho.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/latex-lineno/
>  > 
>  > which explains that for some odd reason lineno is considered a
>  > "humanities" package. As a scientist, I hadn't seen a need to install
>  > texlive-humanities, but can assure you that demand for line numbering
>  > isn't restricted to the humanities ;-)
>  > 
>  > As far as I can tell this hasn't yet been reported as a bug, and
>  > hopefully isn't just an accidental misassignment or oversight... so:
>  >   Could lineno please be moved to the TeXlive base so it'll be
>  > automatically available in lots of scientific computing environments
>  > that won't have installed the humanities repo?
> lineno is mainly used in critical editions, hence the humanities
> collection is definitely the right place.

It is also heavily used for proofreading -- I don't know of any other
package to provide this critical task. Looking at the other packages in
"humanities", they focus on specific features for verse, linguistics or
theological texts. The exceptions, which do not appear to me obviously
restricted to, or even focused on, humanities use are lineno, alnumsec,
and arydshln.

> If every package which could be useful would be moved to the base
> collection then the concept of collections doesn't make sense any
> more.

At least for lineno, which has a very obvious use outside critical
editions (how is it known that this is the main use? The documentation
doesn't mention any target applications), I urge you to reconsider the
classification into a more generic location.

And if, as you say below, the intention is to always install all
packages, then I think they *really* make no sense and just mislead
users like myself (and my sysadmins) to skip the humanities package,
thinking that it won't have any substantial features to offer to
scientists. Which is more or less true, except for lineno and arguably
the other two generic packages I mentioned above.

> It's recommended to always install the complete TeX Live system, not
> only a subset.  The TeX Live installer at tug.org does it by default.
> Though Linux distributors split up TeX Live into several packages too,
> I'm sure that most of them provide a pseudo package which allows you
> to install the complete system at once.

Yes, Debian/Ubuntu has texlive-full. But I don't think it's unreasonable
for users to want to avoid the extra gigabytes of texlive-games,
texlive-lang-african, ... and in my case texlive-humanities, which seem
specialised beyond what we intend to ever use. This is shown up by the
default Ubuntu "texlive" package carrying the description "A decent
selection of the TeX Live packages". Even if not considered a core/base
functionality (which I would dispute), line numbering would IMO make
more sense in the generic texlive-latex-extra than in
texlive-humanities. Rather than ask for

> After all, it's desired that lineno is part of the humanities
> collection.  It's definitely not a bug.  One cannot assume that a
> particular subset of TeX contains everything one needs, regardless of
> how useful a particular package is.

The point I'm trying to make is that it may not have been unintentional,
but that such a classification is too short-sighted and that there is a
very significant non-humanities use-case for this package, which is not
covered (to my knowledge) by any other. Being classed in "humanities"
means that scientific TeX installations (which users often have no
control over, such as the CERN central Linux system that I use) are
often missing this package, despite its being widely used. This just
causes trouble, which I'm sure wasn't the intention of the TeXlive team.


Dr Andy Buckley, Royal Society University Research Fellow
Particle Physics Expt Group, University of Glasgow / PH Dept, CERN

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