[tex-live] documentation of TeX Live

jfbu jfbu at free.fr
Mon May 11 16:29:03 CEST 2015


this is for two or three suggestions for the TeX Live Guide,
anyhow I wake up too late for TL2015 surely, sorry about
that, perhaps for TL2016 ? 

I have three remarks:

1) a great deal of attention is devoted to Windows, and much less
so to some specifics of the Mac OS X brand of Unix.

Regarding XeTeX on Mac OS X in particular, I will be corrected if
I am wrong, which is quite possible, this information on making
TeX Live fonts visible to XeTeX is, afaik, incorrect

   3.4.4 System font configuration for XeTEX and LuaTEX .... 

   But if you have installed the xetex package on a
   Unix-compatible system, you need to configure your system....
   To set up the TEX Live fonts for system-wide use (assuming you
   have suitable privileges), proceed as follows:

     - Copy the texlive-fontconfig.conf file to /etc/fonts/conf.d/09-texlive.conf.
     - Run fc-cache -fsv.

XeTeX does not use this on Mac OS X, as far as I know, at least I
recall having followed the instructions some 3 to 5 years ago, got
bitten by it and moved forward to other things. Perhaps it changed

I never understood how to let XeTeX see the TeX Live fonts except
via making them known to the Mac OS itself via the System GUI
(FontBook I think). Else, I must use "ExternalLocation" key to
\setmainfont from fontspec package, PLUS use filenames (not font

Again this bit of experience may be now *completely invalid*, sorry
about that if this is actually the case. 

xetex-reference.pdf (dated May 21, 2013) does say that fontconfig
library is not used on Mac OS X (just checked) but I couldn't find
any further info within it either.

2) the "tlmgr" is the tool to manage one's TeX Live installation
and I find it rather under-documented in Section 5 of
texlive-en.html, in contrast to 

    i) the install process

   ii) the kpathsea/Web2C library

"tlmgr search" and "tlmgr info" are great tools to discover the
available things from command line, hence for GNU/Linux **and** Mac OS
X users. They are not documented in the TeX Live Guide. (didn't find them)

3) in contrast the Web2C/kpathsea is amply documented.

but this information is for some large part mainly relevant (now)
 to developers, not users. Indeed the time of the pk fonts is for
 99% of users gone, with the overwhelming use of pdf format with
 .pfb fonts or OpenType fonts, and
 even in dvi format for most fonts no use is made of pk bitmap
 fonts anymore. Thus all these detailed informations about file
 searching, which was very much relevant ten years ago is now very
 overwhelming for the average user, and I doubt very much many of
 them will read completely to the end.

Said otherwise: it works so well that average user does not
need to know the gory details

and vz fonts, perhaps the main point to stress is the dangers
of any use of updmap rather than updmap-sys

To summarize, my proposals are 

 - if possible, include some more details on the (mostly font related)
 area where Mac OS X differs from GNU/Linux,

 - detail tlmgr use as comprehensively as has been done for the 
installation process itself

 - move a large portion of the Web2C/kpathsea documentation to a
separate documentation for "system administrators and developers"

thanks for all the hard work, and sorry for expressing these
opinions too late for 2015

best wishes



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