Archive for September, 2008

TeX Live 2008 hits the tree

September 21, 2008

More than one week has passed since I’ve added TeX Live 2008 to the portage tree; I wanted to write a blog entry about it but have had absolutely no free time since.

So, what’s new with this release?

Of course there is the usual packages updates from CTAN, TeX 3.1415926 and METAFONT 2.718281 (yes, there is one more decimal!), pdfTeX 1.40.9 and more…

The most important addition would be LuaTeX, an extended version of pdfTeX using Lua as an embedded scripting language. Even if TeX is Turing-complete this makes much easier and nicer performing advanced tasks in your documents.
With LuaTeX comes ConTeXt Mark IV, the LuaTeX-aware part of ConTeXt. Unfortunately it comes unconfigured in TeX Live 2008 which means you’ll have to manually configure it. It does not poke well with the SELFAUTO* variables we have everywhere in our default configuration files so you’ll have to specify the paths for the texmf trees there and not rely on the texmf.cnf file.

TeX Live 2008 is still masked, awaiting for some keywording and some testing. I think I will unmask it very soon, moving the relevant masks to the various profiles that have problems with one or another package in this release.

While with TeX Live 2007, in my opinion, the urgency was more to have an up-to-date TeX distribution instead of our unmaintained and every day older teTeX, for TeX Live 2008 I’ve focused on cleaning up the tree: we have a bunch of packages in the dev-tex category, most of which were included in TeX Live 2007, so I’ve taken the liberty of removing most of those we had there from the “non core” packages of TeX Live, updating the dev-tex packages and using them from the app-text/texlive meta-ebuild (which should reflect what you can find in the official TeX Live distribution). Some other dev-tex packages had been masked or uninstallable and unmaintained for a while, those have been last rited and should be gone soon. If you find (la?)TeX packages that fall in one or the other category, it’s time to shout and file a bug about it! because it is not unlikely that I have forgotten some.

From the packaging point of view, with TeX Live 2007 we had .zip files for the CTAN packages included in TeX Live and a .tar.bz2 file for the source code of the binaries; with TeX Live 2008 everything is now in .tar.lzma files, what makes them smaller and faster to unpack. But, more importantly, each CTAN package is now split in “run file”, “doc files” and “source files” tarballs: that is, respectively, the package itself, the doc and source useflags in the dev-texlive ebuilds. As opposed to what was done in the 2007 version, the source of the packages isn’t installed anymore by default which saves some diskspace, the doc and source files tarballs are downloaded only if you want to install them what saves some bandwidth.

We now also have ways of updating core TeX packages (pdfTeX and mpost/mplib) independently of the TeX distribution via eselect modules, but that will be for another blog entry.