[texhax] TeX Live Flash (was August 2011 TUG news)

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sat Aug 13 00:13:44 CEST 2011

On 2011-08-12 at 21:23:19 +0200, Uwe Lueck wrote:

 > "TeX Users Group" <tug-news at tug.org> wrote 09.08.2011 01:45:46:
 > > - The TeX Collection DVD has been sent to manufacturing, and should be
 > >    in the mail to members later this month. It will also be available
 > >    through the TUG store as usual.
 > >        http://tug.org/texcollection/
 > I am wondering whether it makes sense to offer the TeX Collection
 > (partially) on USB sticks rather than DVD.
 > I am aware of instructions for creating a portable-TeX-Live USB
 > stick:
 >     http://tug.org/texlive/doc/texlive-en/texlive-en.html#x1-430004.2
 > and of instructions for making USB sticks with "live", bootable,
 > installing Linux.
 > However, some (newbie-like) people (like me) may prefer getting the
 > ready stick directly.
 > I have found two vendors in Germany selling ready USB sticks
 > booting with one out of many flavours of Linux, either writable
 > or unwritable or for installing on the hard disk.
 > One might ask them whether they have been making money this way.
 > Or if they would like to add TeX.
 > Sticks are interesting for netbooks that don't carry DVD drives.
 > I guess for many students such a netbook is the only computer
 > they own, just because netbooks are so cheap. I have seen some
 > students with netbooks. Students without DVD drives may be
 > interested in ready sticks.

Good idea.  However, there are some problems.  The most nasty one is
the crappy file system used on USB sticks.  In order to allow people
to install TL on UNIX systems properly (with symlinks and proper file
permissions), you have to provide the compressed archives as well.

I already tried to put both, the compressed packages and a live system
on a USB stick, and I had to recognize that 4 GB are not sufficient.
Don't know why, but I suppose that there is a lot of overhead in order
to support long file names on a file system which doesn't support them
natively.  On the other hand, TeX Live is growing so fast that it
probably doesn't make sense to worry about the size of a USB stick.

However, I can't imagine that the prize of a USB stick is comparable
to that of a DVD.  Time is money.  It takes an enormous amount of time
to put the data on a USB stick (data have to be sent sequentially),
while TeX Live DVDs are created within a fraction of a second with a
simple waffle iron.


Reinhard Kotucha                                      Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                              mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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