NTeX for Debian & generalized packaging
There has been talk recently about replacing the debian version of the TeX stuff
with teTeX or NTeX.
I myself have been using NTeX and have found it very good. The only problem is
that because I haven't installed the debian versions of TeX, when I want to
install another package that wants you have have TeX stuff, eg lyx etc, dselect
wants you to install all the TeX stuff. It would be much nicer to have something
like NTeX as part of the official Debian distribution.
Some time ago, I emailed the creator of NTeX, Frank Langbein. He runs debian
himself, so I asked him about the possibility of debianizing his distribution.
He said that he wouldn't and gave the following reasons:
> To provide a debian package I would have to reconstruct all the install
> procedures, etc. Once thing that will no longer be possible is the free
> choice of the various installation directories. And if I use the special
> debian package dependencies I have to provide a binary for installation.
> This causes trouble if NTeX is install on any non-Linux system. Currently
> I'm rather happy with the installation scripts form NTeX even if they are
> a bit slow. Since I'm not part of the debian project I prefer to have my
> own packaing system.
Can any of his concerns be addressed? I know very little about the mechanics
of the Debian package system, but could the packaging system be made more
general so that the same packaging system could be used on multiple
platforms? Ie, if the debian packaging tools were general enough, he (or
another volunteer) could distribute NTeX using these tools, not just on
debian systems, but on a range of platforms. Perhaps the debian package
tools could be modified to provide the flexibility needed for use on
a range of systems. Each system would then set parameters to mold
the packaging system to the platform in question. The Debian packaging
system would be simply one version of a more generic packaging system.
Perhaps what I'm suggesting is simply infeasible, but it's worth asking. It
would be great if somehow NTeX could be packaged for Debian.
Mark Phillips. (firstname.lastname@example.org)