TeTeX and TeXLive

Hiroki Sato hrs at FreeBSD.org
Sun Dec 16 06:00:46 PST 2007

Nikola Lečić <nikola.lecic at anthesphoria.net> wrote
  in <200712150123.lBF1N35T038677 at anthesphoria.net>:

ni> On Fri, 14 Dec 2007 07:43:00
ni> Doug Barton <dougb at FreeBSD.org> wrote:
ni> > On Fri, 14 Dec 2007, Nikola Lečić wrote:
ni> [...]
ni> > > I must add that I tried two times to contact two FreeBSD developers
ni> > > who
ni> > > (according to the public sources) seemed to be interested in this;
ni> > > never got a single word of reply. Having in mind that I offered a
ni> > > help, some experience and maintaining/testing availability, I can't
ni> > > understand this. It's very discouraging.
ni> >
ni> > please feel free to take that as a sign that you should take the ball
ni> > and run with it. :)
ni> Well, according to
ni>   http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-ports/2007-May/040511.html
ni> porting of TeXLive has already been undertaken. :-) The problem is
ni> that it's not possible to get any further information on this work.
ni> But anyway, I don't think I can do it alone, of course. I could
ni> probably create port(s), but the biggest challenge is that so many
ni> other ports depend on teTeX, and re-configuring all dependencies
ni> obviously requires huge experience, computer horsepower and
ni> developers' hands. Therefore a help was offered and sharing future
ni> maintaining load as well:
ni> http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-ports/2007-July/042729.html
ni> http://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-ports/2007-August/043453.html
ni> So, once again:
ni> * If any FreeBSD developer is currently working on TeXLive port,
ni>   please, can we users know something about it?
ni> * If not, is any FreeBSD developer willing to lead that project,
ni>   publicly discuss port's infrastructure/concept, and then give us
ni>   (who are happy to help :-)) some tasks?
ni> * Or some user should start porting (and discuss infrastructure
ni>   first?) and then developers will jump in?

 I have tried to create TeXLive port and have some working results,
 but I cannot commit it because the following issues still remain:

 1. Compatibility with other packages which uses TeX.  Some depend on
    old teTeX structure, some depend on hard-coded directory
    structure, and so on.  teTeX in the current ports tree has various
    glues for such software which are not integrated into teTeX yet.

 2. Finer-grained package management is needed.  Creating a TeXLive
    port as "one very large package" is possible but I do not think it
    would work well.  There are many people who do not want to install
    such a large package (TeXLive needs >500MB disk space) for a
    simple use, and who can install it but want to update some
    specific macro packages after that.  Also, I want to solve a
    situation that we have print/tex and print/teTeX separately.

 Actually, 1. has been almost solved by adding similar hacks, but
 2. is still a moot point.  My first prototype consisted of two or
 three ports based on the "large package" model like the current
 teTeX, but I noticed it was too large and difficult to commit.
 Another prototype is based on finer-grained packages---it has
 ports/tex for TeX related ports.  The number of packages which
 extracted from TeXLive distribution and created as ports is 1232 (in
 my local tree).  And then I created meta-ports that installs
 predefined package sets called "core", "basic", "latex", and "full"
 for example.  "core" means Plain TeX + METAFONT + some DVIware,
 "latex" means LaTeX macro set, "basic" means core+latex, and "full"
 includes all other packages (this can be broken down more finely).
 And ports that use TeX needs a line like "USE_TEX=basic" in the
 Makefile as GNOME-related ports do.  I think this is the way we have
 to pursue on a long-term basis.

 In short, modularization of TeXLive distribution is needed for such a
 way.  At first I thought it is not difficult because package
 management information was included in the TeXLive distribution (in
 XML), but I noticed that it was totally broken.  So I am in the
 middle of fixing the information.

 This is a progress report from the current teTeX maintainer who is
 trying to update TeX in the ports tree to TeXLive.  As I explained,
 if we go with the finer-grained package model, over 1000 ports have
 to be added at a time, so testing them should be done in a separate
 tree at least.  I hope I will be able to set up a public tree for
 testing and collaborative work this month...

 Any comments are welcome.  Thanks.

| Hiroki SATO
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