LaTeXML Portfile issues

Bruce Miller bruce.miller at
Sat Jul 5 07:07:39 PDT 2014

On 07/04/2014 08:35 AM, Joshua Root wrote:
> On 2014-7-4 21:15 , Bruce Miller wrote:
>> Hi all;
>>    I'd like to draw attention to the ticket
>> where there are a couple of issues to improve
>> the Portfile.
>> Basically, during installation, I'd like to
>> be able to detect whether there is _any_
>> TeX installation available (whether MacPort's
>> own texlive, or MacTeX or _any_ other TeX).
>> This allows LaTeXML to install it's own style
>> files into the TeX distribution.  I attempted
>> to do this by looking for "kpsewhich",
>> but it turns out that the user's $PATH is not
>> visible within port.  Is there any approved
>> way to do this?
> No, the user's PATH is just gone after we set our own. More generally,
> ports that build differently depending on what the user happens to have
> installed at the time are strongly discouraged, as among other things
> this means such ports don't work properly in conjunction with prebuilt
> archives, and it's also difficult to reproduce issues that are specific
> to the user's setup.
>> I fixed (I think) the post-activate to attempt
>> to run mktexlsr more safely, using
>>    { catch { exec "mktexlsr" } }
>> instead of
>>    { system "mktexlsr" }
>> Is that reasonable? (I'm not a TCL programmer,
>> but it seems to work)
> Exec is different to system in that exec gives you the command's output
> as its return value, whereas system sends the output to stdout/stderr
> and the log file. You can catch errors thrown by either of them, or you
> can run something like "mktexlsr || true". If you want to log the output
> of mktexlsr then you want system.

That seems cleaner, and leaves a clue in the log.

>> After doing that, it revealed the old
>> perl version path problem. Namely, the executables
>> were installed into /opt/local/libexec/perl5.16/sitebin,
>> which is not in the typical user's path.  I "fixed"
>> that by making symlinks from /opt/local/bin to the
>> installed locations.  Is that acceptable, or
>> is there a better way to achieve the same effect?
> That's fine. The perl5 portgroup will create these links for you, and
> you can clear perl5.link_binaries_suffix to make the links not have a
> trailing perl version in their names.

Hmm... I tried that, but no luck. Maybe my package isn't
quite fitting the Perl5 portgroup's expectations?
So, I've left the explicit ln's in.

Thanks for the comments.

>> Namely, LaTeXML is an _application_; the user doesn't
>> care that it's written in Perl (and in fact it works
>> on all perl versions from 5.8.5 through 5.20 RC1).
>> Likewise, I don't particularly care where the executables
>> are installed, so long as they end up visible in $PATH
>> either by putting them in a standard place or automatically
>> modifying $PATH.
>> That is to say, it seems reasonable that a user ought
>> to be able to run
>>    sudo port install SomeApplication
>> and immediately be able to run
>>    SomeApplication
> Yep.
> - Josh

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