[tex-live] tlmgr ftp issues?

Tim Bradshaw tfb at tfeb.org
Thu May 20 10:02:10 CEST 2010

Hi, apologies if this is a known problem or my diagnosis is wrong - I  
haven't been using TeX Live very long.

I have the 2009 distribution, and I wanted to see if I could use tlmgr  
to install updates.  I'm on a mac, which has both the mac application  
firewall turned on, and is also behind a router with firewall and  
NAT.  So "traditional" ftp does not work, it needs to use passive ftp.

I did an update of tlmgr itself ("sudo tlmgr update --self") which  
worked fine.

Now if I try, say "sudo tlmgr update --list" two things happen:

- I get an alert from the mac firewall saying do I want to let perl  
accept incoming network connections, to which I answer "no" (saying  
"yes" isn't going to help since there is another firewall in the way,  
but in any case I definitely do not want to let perl accept incoming  

- tlmgr sits there for a very long time (long enough for me to type  
this) before producing the list.

If I have a poke around with lsof / netstat I can see that it has a  
listening socket open on a high port number, as well as an outgoing  
socket to ftp.tex.ac.uk.

So, my guess (I have looked at the source, but only a bit), is that  
it's trying to do traditional ftp and failing, then falling back to  
something else (wget or curl?).  There has been a thread in in  
comp.text.tex where someone suggested using the -no-persistent- 
downloads option, which does indeed resolve the problem.

If that's a correct diagnosis, then I think tlmgr should be changed so  
it uses passive ftp by default (or at least has a configuration option  
to do so), since I suspect that traditional ftp (active ftp?) will  
work only in a vanishingly small number of cases nowadays.



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