Introducing texmfind

During the past months TeX Live has been in ~arch and seems to be working quite well for everybody since I do not receive that much bug reports, and the ones I’ve had are now fixed. However I’ve seen lots of people asking me: “Hey, where do I find the latex package foo ? I need it to compile my latex document.”.
The reason for this is that TeX Live 2007 ebuilds are split into several smaller ebuilds rather than having one single ebuild, like that was the case for teTeX which in the end was very hard to update and forced everybody to have hundreds of TeX packages that they would never use.

For that “problem”, Alexandre ( ‘Untux’ on the forums) has written a very nice script: texmfind. He has collected the list of files from most of TeX packages we have in portage, based on a TeX Live installation, and written a grep wrapper that digs into the data file to give you what package you should install in order to have what file.

For example:

$ texmfind moderncv.cls
dev-texlive/texlive-latexextra [1 file]

Found 1 texmf file in 1 ebuild.

Of course, it is now in portage as dev-tex/texmfind and it comes with a nice man page for a more advanced usage than this toy example.

Now it seems most people have no reason not to switch to TeX Live, and I really recommend everybody to migrate. Moreover, TeX Live should be ready to go stable now and I would really appreciate some feedback from stable users running TeX Live as a TeX distribution instead of teTeX. This can also include filling a stable request on as this will probably ensure that I have not messed up anything with the dependencies and that I’m not mistaken when saying it should be ready to go stable.


13 Responses to “Introducing texmfind”

  1. Ira Snyder Says:

    Neat tool. I migrated to the TeXLive ebuilds about a month ago (on ~x86), and I ran into a missing package, which was in latexextra. I just dug through the ebuilds to find it, but this is way better.

    The ebuilds worked out great for me, though, when I followed the guide. 🙂

  2. Francois Says:

    Well feedback time then.
    I have been using texlive on both x86 and ppc – I run mainly
    stable on both arch. I have mentioned that I run it on ppc
    in the stable request ps2eps (#209463) not really the right
    place but I have been running it for months on ppc as well.
    My last article for Physical Review D and my last conference
    slides were produced using texlive so as far as I am concerned it is production ready.
    The only itch is that according to my logs (on both x86 and ppc again) there are file collision in texlive-formatsextra,
    texlive-latex, texlive-mathextra and texlive-metapost-2007-r1.
    It says not to fill bug reports if you don’t have any idea
    of the other package with which it collides so I abstained.
    Those errors are from November they may have been
    solved since then for all I know.

  3. Christian Says:

    And it is keyworded ~x86, thanks for the tool.

  4. Francesco Says:

    A tetex installation at the moment is of about 120 mb. How much disk space does texlive requires? and what is the minimal “standard” package set an user could need?

  5. Alexis Says:

    @François: thanks for the feedback; I’m interested in these collisions, even if they are with no other packages, that might be stray files. But regarding the packages you mention, they seem to be the ones that install formats and symlinks in /usr/bin; which symlinks were poorly handled with tetex and are not unmerged when removing it.

    @Francesco: I’d say a more or less full (full for what I need to do) will be about 200M; that’s a little bit more unfortunately. The minimal set would be texlive-latexrecommended and its deps if you want the ‘latex’ command; but if you want to do a bit more there is the meta ebuild app-text/texlive, it installs nothing but depends on other packages.

  6. Francois Says:

    I sent the elog at your Gentoo address.

  7. Another Christian Says:

    I have switched to TeXlive in the middle of 2007, I think. Since then it has been working better than the previous teTeX installation. It’s great that I do not have to manually copy updated versions of some LaTeX packages into the texmf subdirectories.

    Many thanks for the hard work the TeX herd has accomplished!

  8. Francois Says:

    Alexis, I cannot locate the how-to on the gentoo web-site
    could point me in the right direction please.

  9. Alexis Says:

    @François: it’s the “migrate” link in the blog post 🙂

  10. AlefBet Says:

    One thing that might be worth mentioning somewhere prominent is that it’s easier to manage texlive by just merging app-text/texlive (none of the other packages), but using its USE flags to pull in all the other packages. That way you end up with a less cluttered world file and it’s easier to see what you’re pulling in and why just by looking at your /etc/portage/package.use entry.

    I started to merge a laundry list of packages to get all the features I wanted, but about halfway through picking them I realized that I could get what I wanted more cleanly by setting my USE flags for the main package and also my LINGUAS.

  11. Vladimir Brik Says:

    I’ve been using texlive without problems for a while, primarily for presentations with beamer and typesetting conference papers.

    The only minor annoyance is that a lot of people in academia still use tetex, which typically comes without xelatex and associated packages.

    As far as bugs go, here’s a thread about a bug in texlive 2007’s xelatex that affects advanced features of some opentype fonts:

    It’s not really a Gentoo problem, but if you want, I could file a bug.

  12. Michael Tim Says:

    I love your site!

    Experiencing a slow PC recently? Fix it now!

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    PPC Classroom Bonus…


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