Getting tlmgr working

Jerry jerry at
Mon Sep 16 18:19:42 UTC 2013

On Mon, 16 Sep 2013 19:39:17 +0200
Roland Smith articulated:

> On Mon, Sep 16, 2013 at 07:59:32AM -0400, Jerry wrote:
> > On Mon, 16 Sep 2013 08:26:09 +0200
> > Roland Smith articulated:
> > 
> > > On Sun, Sep 15, 2013 at 06:04:03PM -0400, Jerry wrote:
> > > > Has there been any movement on getting "tlmgr" working on
> > > > FreeBSD? The inability to get and install updates is annoying.
> > > 
> > > Basically there are two ways of dealing with TeXLive;
> > > 
> > > 1) Install it from ports. This also means using ports to update
> > > it. 2) Use the TeXLive installer to install it. In this case you
> > > can use tlmgr to update it.
> > > 
> > > I've used method 2 since 2007, and that has worked fine for me.
> > 
> > The problem is that the ports system is not keeping individual
> > TeXLive packages. 
> My guess would be that this was a consideration between convenience
> and workload, given that TeXLive contains a gazillion packages. Check
> the archives of the freebsd-ports list for more info.
> In _principle_ it would have been possible to make a port out of all
> CTAN/TeXLive packages. But the maintenance overhead would be _huge_.
> Plus, it takes a TeXpert to determine which specific packages you
> need to do something, and even most TeX users don't fall into that
> category. So that approach is unrealistic.
> Given the amount of disk space on a modern PC, doing a full install
> would not be a problem for most people. (Unless you're trying to run
> TeXLive on a raspberry pi or a beaglebone, in which case I would
> respectfully question your sanity. :-) )
> > There is an old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
> > Unfortunately, in the case of "tlmgr", they failed to pay heed to
> > that advice. 
> There were other considerations. Suppose a single "TeXLive" port was
> made, that would just let tlmgr do its thing. What would that port
> provide, and what would its dependencies be? That is _impossible_ for
> the ports system to tell, because it would be determined _outside_
> the ports system.
> In this case you could get a situation that a program that depends on
> a part of TeXLive could be installed (because the TeXLive port is
> installed) but it wouldn't work because the right option wasn't
> selected in tlmgr. Not a good situation.
> Another problem scenario is that you use tlmgr to install something
> that doesn't work because it needs a library that isn't installed yet.
> > The ports system is not keeping individual TeXLive packages updated.
> Indeed, but is that such a big deal?
> TeX is a relatively mature piece of software. That's one of the
> reasons why there is only one release every year. I tend to update my
> TeXLive install once every year after the new release comes out, and
> that strategy has served me well over the years.
> > Besides, using a big, complex system like the FreeBSD ports system
> > to keep the individual packages of a single program, in this case
> > TeXLive, updated when the program supplies its own mechanism for
> > doing so, is just another failed attempt at reinventing the wheel.
> Damned if they do, damned if they don't? The thing is, TeXLive
> _isn't_ a single program, that is the basis of the problem.
> > There area also a slew of other ports that fail to install if the
> > system is configured to run TeXLive. When they will get that
> > problem solved is anyone's guess.
> Submitting PRs would help.

I was told by the maintain of the "*-freebsd-doc-*" ports that they
know there is a problem and that it will be looked into. Interestingly
enough, that is the exact same answer I use when I have no clue what is
wrong and no intention of doing anything about it in the immediate
future. Clearly, this should not have happened.

Seriously though, tlmgr is the name of the package and configuration
manager included in TeX Live. It operates completely separately from
any package manager the operating system may provide. I fail to see why
it was disabled. I think I will take the advice I was given and clear
TeXLive from my system and then download and install it from it from
"". I have been told it works perfectly and without any of the
BS that FreeBSD apparently decided to attach to it. Again, if it wasn't
broke, why did they feel the need to fix it? Are we sure that FreeBSD
doesn't work for the government?

Jerry ♔

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