Texlive old install support

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Tue Apr 14 16:32:14 CEST 2020

Warren MacEvoy <wmacevoy at gmail.com> asks on Mon, 13 Apr 2020 18:45:48
-0600 about archiving older versions of TeX Live to ensure continuing
ability to typeset old documents.

On our *.math.utah.edu systems, we have TeX Live versions 2003 to
2020, except for 2006, which is curiously missing, but could probably
be recovered from a CD-ROM on my campus office shelf (like most others
these days, I'm working from home, in my fourth week of campus
absence).  I'll be happy to provide Warren with bundles for any set of
TeX Live years that he needs.  I believe that I have CD-ROMs of older
releases from NTG that could be resurrected when I get back to campus.

I wrote about the problem of archival documents in section 3 of this


It is not just a question of TeXware packages: there is also the
significant issue of the underlying Unicode font rendering engines on
each platform, which differ across platforms, and evolve in time.

Docker containers, jails, and virtual machines provide a reasonable
solution, particularly the latter, because they can be run
indefinitely far into the future.  Dockers and jails depend on the
current O/S on which they reside, and thus do not necesarily provide a
time-independent archival solution.

There is substantial community interest in keeping old computer
architectures running, even if the original hardware no longer exists,
and Hyper-V, QEMU, SIMH, and Xen teams are doing a great job of doing
that.  They even support future architectures; I recently successfully
built TeX Live 2020 for the RISC-V CPU family: see


for which desktop systems are not yet available (RISC-V boards are,
but pricey, about US$1K each).

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

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