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Re: Bug#312897: ITP: texlive -- The TeXlive system packaged for debian

Christoph Berg <cb@df7cb.de> wrote:

> Re: Norbert Preining in <20050610162919.GA25675@gamma.logic.tuwien.ac.at>
>> * Package name    : texlive
>>   Description     : The TeXlive system packaged for debian
>> TeX Live is an easy way to get up and running with TeX. It includes all
>> major freely-available TeX-related programs, macro packages, and fonts,
>> including support for many languages around the world.
> The website looks like that's a "live" tex CD. What's the difference
> to a normal "apt-get install tetex-extra" installation on Debian?

Let me add some comments from my point of view (Debian teTeX
maintainer).  There is a significant difference between texlive and
teTeX, and I think that Debian users, as well as developers, will
benefit from texlive being packaged.

First of all, texlive is much more comprehensive than teTeX, it contains
virtually the complete CTAN archive as far as the software is DFSG-free
(yes, the texlive team specifically uses the DFSG), whereas teTeX
contains only a subset of the more popular - or more traditional, in
some cases - (La)TeX packages.  

Second, texlive has a very elaborate structure of subpackages that allow
to install exactly what you need, whereas teTeX is one monolithic piece
of data, and has been split into -bin, -base, -extra, and -doc only by
the Debian maintainers.  And this splitting is by no means satisfying;
people always asked for finer splitting, but this is hard to do, and in
fact parts of -extra should be put back into -base because they belong
to a LaTeX Base Distribution.

Finally, texlive has a promised, and, as far as I know, always fulfilled
release schedule of "once per year", whereas teTeX is released not only
"when it is ready", but also "when the upstream author has time and
thinks it is necessary".

Taking things together, I think that texlive will be the much better
choice for users who install a TeX system on their home box to actually
write LaTeX (or ConTeXt) documents, and who perhaps use testing,
anyway.  On the other hand, an admin on a multi-user box might better
stick to teTeX, and specifically for the buildd's teTeX will provide a
more conservative environment.

This point is particularly important from my point of view.  teTeX 3.0
came out in February this year, and we were never sure whether we should
try to put it into sarge: Uploading it (or the release candidates) to
unstable during the past year would have caused havoc for the buildd's,
I'm sure, revealing tons of RC bugs in package documentation and
documentation systems.  On the other hand, teTeX 2.0 from 2003 is pretty
useless for users who expect support from the LaTeX community, or for
LaTeX developers - and this is going to get worse during the lifetime of

If we had texlive in Debian, there wouldn't be such pressure.  teTeX
would be updated to the current version shortly after a release, and
then would stick to that upstream version no matter what happened until
the next release.  And the buildds and package maintainers would be happy.

Regards, Frank

P.S. please Cc me on replies, I'm not subscribed to -devel currently.
Frank Küster
Inst. f. Biochemie der Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer

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