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Updating LaTeX on Unix

  Michel Goossens CN/ASD


In CNL 222 I described the newly-proposed TDS (TeX Directory Structure) for TeX distributions. One of the first developers to implement this structure was Thomas Esser (Hannover University). His teTeX distribution has become in less than a year the most-used TeX system on Unix, and forms also the basis of the TeX Live CD-ROM, which contains a plug-and-play setup for TeX with executables for some twenty different platforms (e.g., for Alphas, HP, Sun, RS-6000, Linux).

A new LaTeX setup (planned for November release)

In order to ease the maintenance of the TeX system at CERN, I decided to install the latest version of teTeX at CERN, and together with Thomas Esser, who came to CERN at the end of August, we installed version 0.4 of teTeX. It includes the June 1996 release of LaTeX as well as up-to-date version of most of the important packages in use at CERN. It is my plan to make this the default version at the beginning of November. Therefore I invite everybody to test the new setup before that date, so that possible problems can be cured before its general introduction. In particular I would like to find out which old LaTeX 2.09 files are still being used, so that alternatives can be found, or else these files can be added to the deprecated latex209 tree.

In principle, it suffices to issue the latex command, and the new setup will find the necessary files in the standard tree. However, if you have private files (of your experiment, group, university,...) you can access them by adding the directory where they reside (e.g., my-private-file-dir) at the end of the TEXINPUTS path, as follows:

in the Bourne (ksh, bash) shell, or
setenv TEXINPUTS :my-private-file-dir
in the C (tcsh) shell. This will first search the standard directory tree, and only then the specified directory.

If, sometime in the future, somebody provides a port implementing the same functionality in an efficient way (including the directory searching) on VMS or Windows 95/NT, the same system will also be installed on those platforms.

Testing phase

As explained above, I would like that as many LaTeX users as possible test the new setup before its introduction in a few weeks. In order to get access to the new executables on platforms which import their software from the asis central software repository (by explicit copying, or by having it accessible via AFS or NFS) one should issue the command:

ASISsetup TeX/teTeX_bin-0.4.1

Important Note

The ASISsetup command is not available in the default user setup, so to access it one should issue one of the following commands:
. /afs/
in the Bourne (ksh, bash) shell, or
source /afs/
in the C (tcsh) shell.

Systems not accessing AFS directly should replace the string /afs/ above with the root directory of the asis software, for instance often /nfs/ for NFS.

Be careful with legacy files

As pointed out above, the present and new systems will be run in parallel for some time (this is possible, since the present system stores its files below usr/local/lib/texmf while the new system stores them below usr/local/share/texmf). The present system will be archived when the new one is introduced, and removed from the system soon afterwards. As announced on various occasions, the pre-1994 LaTeX-209 setup (available at present with the latex -old command), will then also be deleted (this is overdue, since I originally announced this deletion for the summer of 1995!). Those interested in still using this old setup will have to copy it to their private disk before the end of October.

Language support

Support for various languages (hyphenation patterns and the Babel system) is compiled into the formats and is available on top of English by replacing the latex command by an equivalent where the two-letter code of the language is prepended. The table below shows a list of prefixes for the main supported languages.

caCatalan czCzech deGerman dkDanish
esSpanish fiFinnish frFrench bgG.B. English
hrCroatian huHungarian itItalian nlDutch
noNorwegian plPolish skSlovak svSwedish

Thus, the command delatex will load LaTeX with the German (and English) hyphenation patterns, frlatex with French and English, etc. Also, the preamble part of a typical job using these languages should look something like (for instance in the case of Spanish):

For the moment there is no support for Russian or Greek (an often-asked question), and I can only re-iterate my standard reply that it is up to representatives of those user communities (and similarly for other languages which are not available), to provide me with the necessary files in order to set up the desired environment.

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