[tex-live] Feature request: "package dependency" field on CTAN

Norbert Preining preining at logic.at
Sun Nov 13 15:12:53 CET 2016

Dear all,

I think the suggestion of Hironobu is a good idea, but we might
want something better...

> As I've said before, conditional dependencies in the TeX world seem like
> a problem beyond the state of the art. Debian's "weak depends" would not
> be helpful, and I don't know of anything in practice that's gone beyond


> I have nothing in principle against the proposed CTAN field, as long as
> it used for unconditional dependencies. Meaning something the package
> requires every time it is loaded, with any engine. Anything other than
> that is a slippery slope that will lead to more problems than benefit,
> as far as I can see.
> There are various possibilities for automatically determining
> dependencies, going along autotesting packages. For example,
> auto-creating a minimal document, running with -recorder (across
> engines), and going through the output. It's an easy idea to have, not
> such an easy idea to find time to actually implement. --best, karl.

This is what I have talked about and would like to implement:
* strong dependency:
	the package is loaded in any case
	(think of a \RequirePackage at the toplevel)
* weak dependency (suggest?):
	the package is loaded only under some circumstances
	(extra options, other packages loaded, ...)

We would like to have at least the strong ones reflected in the
texlive.tlpdb, but this is not trivial.

One approach would be to automatically (i.e., someone (me?) needs
to write code) generate test documents for many different classes
of packages/files, run them, examine the output of -recorder, and
derive strong dependencies from it.

Conceptually this is not difficult, there is already code to parse
the -recorder output in one of our scripts, so this should be an 
easy thing to *start* - but the devil is in the details ...

Anyway, I am with Karl - new developers are welcome - and we can 
provide guidance on how to start and work with it. Only that both
Karl and me are slightly overbooked ...



PREINING Norbert + TeX Live & Debian Developer + http://www.preining.info
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