[OS X TeX] iinstaller packages are not documents

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Sat Mar 5 03:30:08 EST 2005

On 4 Mar 2005, at 19:23, Joachim Kock wrote:

> Hello Gerben and iInstaller users,
> Just one quirk in the iInstaller: the default download location is
> ~/Documents.  I am happy that there is now an option for changing
> this location, but I think the choice of default is really bad.  The
> Documents folder is for your personal documents, where you
> put the files you have produced yourself through hard work, the files
> that are most precious and that you cannot just download from twenty
> different mirrors around the world, and for this reason also the
> files you back up most frequently.  It is really not the place for
> 10 or 50 Mb of installers -- in a sense these left-over installers
> are just junk, because most likely you will not need them again; at
> most it can be considered a backup of the installation, but there are
> certainly better places for backup-like heavyweight like these.
> The appropriate place would be either on the Desktop (which is the
> typical download folder), where you will quickly notice it and file
> it where you want, or trash it if you want.  Or otherwise perhaps in
> the Application Support folder.

Having those large documents in ~/Documents is also not my favourite, 
but currently it is the best of a couple of bad choices for me.

The version you use also keeps track of some of your choices, hence it 
is *your* document with partly *your* settings. If you use expert 
install you'll see that if you install a second time the selection of 
parts will be the same as last time.

Secondly, you can set the preferences to auto-thin after install. The 
actual size of the packages will be small after that.

Thirdly, there is a use for backups of the large documents. TeX is 
often a critical part of people's work (PhD thesis anyone?) and TeX 
might change. Older i-Packages are not kept around in the repositories 
so if you want to be certain, you need to keep the old package in your 

The combination of personal settings and the option of auto-thin and 
the possible use for a fat backup for me makes it possible to have them 
in ~/Documents. For people who want otherwise, there is a simple way of 
moving it.

Historically, there was a short while that the default location was 
~/Library/Caches/i-Installer/i-Packages but that changed because the 
i-Package is *not* a cache. It is a working entity in its own right 
that keeps working (if all elements for that action have been 
downloaded in the past) when the remote package is gone. It is one of 
the design features of i-Installer that it must be as robust as 
possible wrt me having an accident. If you have a fattened package and 
your i-installer app, it will remain working whatever happens in the 
outside world. That means it is not a cache. Hence, the i-Packages are 
not *application files* but *documents* (they are also part of the 
Cocoa NSDocument hierarchy design-wise and end up in recent documents 
in the i-Package menu etc).

Finally, i-Package may not install anything. i-Installer is a generic 
tool and I can have (and have had in the past) i-Packages that only 
configure things.

I think I have answered some of the remarks in this thread, I'll see 
where the discussion goes.


> Compare: when you download a new version of StuffIt Expander or
> Mozilla, and you unpack and install the programm,  what do you do
> with the installer?  do you dump it at the top level of your
> Documents folder?
> My personal opinion does not have much weight, so it would be
> useful to hear if others have any comments on this issue.
> Cheers,
> Joachim.
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