Alternatives for core TeX binaries

If you have been following packages additions you may have noticed the addition of a couple of packages some weeks ago:

  • dev-tex/pdftex
  • dev-tex/mplib
  • app-admin/eselect-mpost
  • app-admin/eselect-pdftex

While our TeX distributions already ship them (pdftex and mpost), the first two are standalone packages and the last two are eselect modules to easily switch and use them.
With the bump to TeX Live 2008 I’ve made it possible to switch between different versions instead of being bound to what has been shipped with the release. This means that they will get bumped more frequently than they used to.

For the pdftex case, it is currently the same version that comes with TeX Live 2008 with the difference that the standalone version is patched to use poppler instead of its bundled xpdf library. I’ve prefered to leave the xpdf library as default for TeX Live because that is what upstream is using but some people asked for it to use poppler instead and a lot of other distributions (debian, fedora and their derivatives) are using it as the only way. That will probably make it easier to get improvements and security fixes on that side. If you wish to try it, install pdftex and eselect-pdftex and use “eselect pdftex” to set the standalone package as your default pdftex!

As for mplib, it is a reworked and rewritten version of the good old metapost. It can be used as a library (as luatex does) but you can also switch your default mpost interpreter to be it via the eselect-mpost package. Upstream says it is a work in progress but so far I have not seen any problem with it.

By the way, I have unmasked TeX Live 2008 today so that means ~arch users will upgrade to this release and can try these alternatives out of the box.


10 Responses to “Alternatives for core TeX binaries”

  1. pacho Says:

    Thanks a lot for your work!

  2. archwndas Says:

    I have problems building texlive in amd64 arch. This is the error I get:
    * Building format texmf/fmtutil/format.metafont.cnf
    fmtutil: format directory `/var/tmp/portage/dev-texlive/texlive-basic-2008/work/texmf-var/web2c’ does not exist.
    * ERROR: dev-texlive/texlive-basic-2008 failed.
    * Call stack:
    *, line 49: Called src_compile
    * environment, line 201: Called texlive-module_src_compile
    * environment, line 319: Called die
    * The specific snippet of code:
    * TEXMFHOME=”${S}/texmf:${S}/texmf-dist” fmtutil –cnffile “${i}” –fmtdir “${S}/texmf-var/web2c” –all || die “failed to build format ${i}”;
    * The die message:
    * failed to build format texmf/fmtutil/format.metafont.cnf
    * If you need support, post the topmost build error, and the call stack if relevant.
    * A complete build log is located at ‘/var/lib/entropy/logs/dev-texlive:texlive-basic-2008:20081112-235917.log’.
    * The ebuild environment file is located at ‘/var/tmp/portage/dev-texlive/texlive-basic-2008/temp/environment’.

    >>> Failed to emerge dev-texlive/texlive-basic-2008, Log file:

    >>> ‘/var/lib/entropy/logs/dev-texlive:texlive-basic-2008:20081112-235917.log’

    It is a stopper for me using Gentoo since I do a lot of work in LaTeX. Why can’t you upload texlive binaries so we do not have to recompile everything?

  3. Michael Tim Says:

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  4. Christian Says:

    I have same problem as above. Can’t emerge texlive.

  5. Christian Says:

    fixed it by wiping everything to do with tex (packages, /etc/texmf, /usr/share/texmf) and then setting everything to ~arch.

  6. Ben Says:

    Instead of wiping everything and setting everything to ~arch you could just run



    emerge textlive

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  10. Diaz Says:

    Great alternatives, thanks!

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