TeXLive distribution and macports

Werner LEMBERG wl at gnu.org
Tue Sep 11 07:15:21 UTC 2018

Hello Mojca!

> Warmly welcome to another addictive distraction (aka. MacPorts :),

So true...

> it's nice to see you here as well.

Thanks – it's time to meet again sometimes in the nearer future :-)

>> Ports that are ok with using MacTeX instead will have declared
>> their dependencies in such a way (using the bin: specification
>> instead of the port: specification) that MacTeX versions will
>> satisfy them.
>> If you have MacPorts set up in this way, and you install a port,
>> and it still pulls in MacPorts texlive ports, then either those
>> ports' dependencies need to be fixed to use bin: instead of port:,
>> or there is a specific reason why those ports can't do it that way.
> I wanted to reply something similar (but wouldn't be able to express
> myself as nicely as Ryan did).

Yeah, this sounds very promising!

> TeX Live is a bit special in the sense that it's a 5 GB(?) monster

More than 6GByte meanwhile...

> with only a bunch of command-line utilities (as opposed to providing
> libraries to link against, which would be prohibitive to make this
> kind of an exception) and advanced users would usually want their
> own special setup, or perhaps super up-to-date packages.

Exactly.  This year it is probably even more important than usual to
have access to an up-to-date repository since the LaTeX team decided
to make UTF-8 encoding the default in LaTeX, which causes quite a
number of packages to fail, and these failures are only detected now.

Additionally, packages for xetex and luatex are in most cases under
constant development.

> Before going into further detail I would like to point out that in
> the beginning I kind of tried to fight the same battle as you do now
> and tried to avoid installing TeX Live from MacPorts at all
> costs.

Hehe :-)

> We sometimes get requests for supporting installation of tlmgr only.
> This is something that's a lot more tricky in my eyes than just
> letting the user install TL himself and allowing some ports to
> forgive the dependency on texlive when that package is not
> present. (Code to prove us wrong is of course always welcome :)

I fully agree.

> 1.) Some ports like "dblatex" introduce a "+mactex" variant [...]


> 2.) As Ryan already mentioned, one can specify a dependency in
>     "bin:<specification>" form specification, so that either a local
>     TeX installation or a port installed by the texlive port will
>     satisfy the dependency.  If the specified binary doesn't exist,
>     MacPorts will install the specified port. If it does exist, it
>     won't install anything in additional.  See ftgl as an example of
>     such a port.

Yes.  Looks very promising.

> The disadvantage is that it's nearly impossible to guarantee that
> the build will be successful in the case of a local TeX
> installation.

I can live with that, since it is an external dependency.  IMHO, it's
the job of the package's `configure' script to test that.

> [...]  For all those reasons I never bothered enabling external TL
> dependencies for asymptote and I'm still not sure if it is worth it.

Fortunately, the packages I'm interested in don't pose such problems.

> So in short: it definitely is possible to avoid installing any
> texlive-related packages from MacPorts.  The question is whether you
> care enough about this functionality to be willing to go into some
> extra troubles, and in any case there are probably a lot of ports
> that might need a patch to work as desired.

Yeah, will try to work on that.


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