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

Hironobu Yamashita h.y.acetaminophen at gmail.com
Sun Nov 13 16:50:48 CET 2016


Thanks for many replies to my proposal.


> For CTAN, the answer to the last question would probably
> be quite clear:  introduce a new, optional, "depends" element
> for Catalogue entries.   I think we should discuss this
> internally.


> it must be understood that these can only be
> _hints_; we will never be able to provide a complete
> classification of all > 5000 Catalogue entries with respect
> to dependencies.

Of course I know, I don't want any perfect;) The new field is
only _encouraged_ (especially for "surprising" dependency)
and authors can decide whether to enter something or not.


> It is effectively the authors (and users) who do it now -- they send
> dependency information (like you just did), I (and Christian for MiKTeX
> I suppose) add dependencies as is useful.

I don't think current procedure of adding "depend" to texlive.tlpdb
manually is sustainable. The package author uploads somepkg to
ctan, wait for texlive to include it, and send an email to Karl for
additional "strong dependency". The author have to send the
similar email to MiKTeX, and all the other distributors...?

Another thing to consider is that tlmgr (official script in texlive)
is not the only way of package management. When a user installs
texlive using platform-specific manager (apt-get or port), the
execution of tlmgr is almost disabled. Update and resolving package
dependency is left to each maintainer of the platform specific
packaging, so "depend" entry in texlive.tlpdb may no be referred
at all. This would mean duplication of effort in the worst case.


> MikTeX's on-the-fly package loading is nice when you have
> Internet access, but users often want to work on documents in off-hours
> while at sea or in the field with either zero or expensive Internet access.
> They start with some existing template that worked on their desktop,
> only to find that some packages are missing or outdated on the laptop
> in the field.

I dindn't know much about MiKTeX, but on-the-fly package loading
seems useful. But, as you say, it would still happen that some
dependent package is missing while internet access is unavailable.


> 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.

I've also read the previous discussion on tex-live list.
That would be very useful, but will require a lot of work.

I thought it would be better if the upstream, CTAN, takes some
new action. It may benefit all the distributions, including official
TeX Live, MiKTeX and platform-specific ones. Of course this
request would demand a lot of work to be done by CTAN team
and others, so I don't insist on the change. It's a mere suggestion,
so any better ideas are welcome.


More information about the tex-live mailing list