[tex-live] So far.....expensive failure

Mojca Miklavec mojca.miklavec.lists at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 10:05:30 CET 2013


In the light of what Reinhard wrote, a few things came to my mind.

When MikTeX started to install packages on demand, I became so annoyed
when I didn't have internet connection and wasn't able to install a
certain package and thus compile my sources that I ended up
downloading the whole repository to some place on my disk and then it
was easy to install package from a local repository (my hard drive).
Sure, I needed a lot more space and it kind of obsoleted the genius
idea of "install just the packages you need to spare disk space and
make the installation faster", but it was worth the trouble at that
time and I could remove the packages at any time if I needed free disk

The same approach could be done with TeX Live.
a) have a script to update a local repository (either local disk space
or local server)
b) install from local filesystem/server

But I speculate that the majority of users doesn't even come to that
idea. In particular not the Windows users who aren't familiar with
rsync or wget to fetch the whole repository. So the problematic part
might be the first step.

The situation could be changed if:
a) There was an exe file with installer (downloading and extracting a
zip is already less intuitive than just getting install-tl.exe). That
one could give an additional reason for not fetching the whole iso
b) There was an exe file to assist with making the equivalent of iso
file (mirroring the whole repository), only with the newest package.
So something that would run rsync or wget to fetch or update the whole
repository to the local filesystem. Then everyone who would want to
assist the students with installation from DVD or USB could run the
program and burn the newly fetched repository instead of downloading
the iso file with the one year old distribution.

Still it might be true that if documentation about how to install from
ISO was really long, it might change the mind of some users, so that
they would try to download something else :)


PS: A bit off-topic, but possibly related: whenever I want to install
MinGW, I have no clue at all about which file to download and install.
I usually go to SourceForge download page and go to the folder with
the highest number of downloads. If I don't know what to download,
other people hopefully know better than me, so I follow the statistics
and pick the folder and file with highest number of downloads. Still,
I usually end up downloading something different each time. Last time
I managed to download something that included lots of useful tools
like rsync.exe, ls.exe, ... but I'm unable to figure out what exactly
it was that I fetched, so I'm unable to repeat the same installation
procedure on another machine.

I wasn't aware that there were so many unintended downloads of the iso
files, but I can easily imagine that some users might be just as
confused about so many files for TL on CTAN as I am about MinGW.

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