Texlive old install support

Joseph Wright joseph.wright at morningstar2.co.uk
Tue Apr 14 12:36:03 CEST 2020

On 14/04/2020 11:32, khzimmer at posteo.de wrote:
> Am 14.04.2020 12:22 schrieb Joseph Wright:
>> On 14/04/2020 01:45, Warren MacEvoy wrote:
>>> I am trying to maintain a docker container (like a small virtual 
>>> machine with specific software0 so TexLive users can make a specific 
>>> container that reliably and efficiently can be used to make their 
>>> latex documents.
>>> A real problem is that each year I have to move to the latest tex 
>>> live distribution; which inevitably breaks the building of documents 
>>> based on older packages.
>>> Philosophically, this is a serious problem.  There are many old 
>>> documents which will require expert intervention to create if the 
>>> build tools move this much every year, and the old tools do not work.
>>> I tried downloading an archive build and got a failed installation on 
>>> a checksum.
>>> Reliably building old documents should be a priority for the texlive 
>>> system.  Otherwise a love of creative intellectual property will 
>>> become unstable.
>>> Can there be a long term maintenance policy for some versions of 
>>> texlive?  Leaving an archive to 3rd parties does not seem reasonable, 
>>> especially if those builds just fail after one year…
>>> Thanks,
>>> Warren MacEvoy
>> If you want to use a TeX Live version longer-term, what's the issue
>> with installing the historic ones from ISO? The TeX Live people mainly
>> just install other people's (La)TeX packages: actual binary changes
>> are a small part of the total work done.
>> I have TeX Live from 2009 onward installed on my own PC, which with
>> today's disk sizes is quite achievable: I'm not sure there is an big
>> issue there. (People like AMS who need absolute stability archive
>> every part of the build setup with every file, but that's an extreme
>> approach.)
>> Joseph
> Hi,
> this problem affects me, too. My users are German speaking book authors 
> with (mostly) very limited IT knowledge.
> For them following the simple instructions by the installation 
> wizard-style GUI works fine -- just using the default settings -- but it 
> would be much more difficult for them to download and work with an ISO 
> file.
> Perfect (from users' point of view) would be:
> Having radiobuttons in the GUI:
> ( ) Use last year's TeX Life collection
> ( ) Use newest TeX Life
> Could that be done?  :)
> Cheers
> Karl-Heinz

I very much doubt it: all of the historic data is on a single system, 
the CTAN network only has the current live release.

I am surprised that people are having such severe version issues: most 
LaTeX package authors do get the 'long term stability' business. 
Certainly the kernel team take this incredibly seriously.

For the non-tech savvy, on-line options like Overleaf or Papeeria do 
offer a known version and stability on a per-project basis.


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