[tex-live] BUG: TeXLive installers should fail more gracefully

sombragris sombragris at gmail.com
Sun Mar 18 04:51:53 CET 2018

Dear people:

I'm extremely grateful for TeXLive. However, I would really like that,if
possible, you make the TeXLive Windows installers fail more gracefully.

tl; dr version: TeXLive Windows managers/installers cannot resume a failed
install/update. This is awful taking into account the enormous amount of
time required to finish an install/update. Please make them more fail

Long version:

Background. I usually use TeXLive packaged by my desktop Linux distribution.

However, my PC started developing an annoying condition that makes it turn
off with little or no warning. The only mitigation (while some parts are
shipping) is to use Windows. This is because the manufacturer has a sensor
suite for Windows which give me a warning of some seconds before the
computer turns itself off. There I could poke the machine, restore the
working part (for some minutes) and avoid the shutdown.

However, some times I miss and then the computer turns itself off.

Extremely annoying, as you might imagine.

However, there is impending work that needs to be done. Since I need to use
Windows, I downloaded TexLive 2017 in its ISO image (the netinstall would
have me hooked for over 7 hours).

OK. Enough background.

The issue is: I installed TeXLive from the 2017 ISO image.
The process took me about 2.5 hours and this is in a fast, i7 system with a
SSD drive.
 The point is: there is a lot of data and therefore it takes a lot of time.

After that, I switched to a net repository and began updating the packages.
There are a lot of packages to be updated, as you might know since we are
nearing the 2018 release.

The process took over 3 hours and it was getting around packages beginning
with the "p" letter when my computer turned itself off due to circumstances
explained in the background.

Turned back on, started the TexLive Manager and... it was unusable. "Cannot
determine version!" was the only message.

Take into account that all packages were OK in the installation directory,
save for perhaps the package which was being updated at the time. Thus,
TeXLive Manager should have been able to pick up from the "last known good
update" and resume from there.

However, since it did not, this is what happened:
1. Made me reinstall the whole TeXLive 2017; and
2. Then I am scheduled to reupdate again.

And if the TexLive installer fails, it's the same. Zero chances to resume
from the "last known good" package or whatever. It's the whole 2.5 hours

Please bear in consideration that the install time for a reasonably
complete TeXLive texmf setup is really long. Whenever long times are
involved, chances of failure increase. Therefore, it is highly advisable to
make the installer and TeXLive Manager more fault tolerant and able to
resume from an interrupted previous process.

Please do that!

Thanks and best regards,

Eduardo Sánchez
Asunción, Paraguay
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