[OS X TeX] iinstaller packages are not documents

Joachim Kock jkock at ya.com
Sat Mar 5 06:12:59 EST 2005

>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.

After reading the various postings, I think


would be a very good choice.

>The version you use also keeps track of some of your choices, hence it is *your* document with partly *your* settings.

These files are a mixture of application support files and settings.  But
that doesn't make them *documents*.  Note the tilde in the path I propose:
it means that this i-Installer package is *yours*.  Inside ~/Library,
the i-Installer packages will find their place at the same level of
personality as emails, bookmark files, and personal .sty and .bib files.
Is an i-Installer package more of a personal document than any of these?

>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 backup.

C'mon! This argument could be applied to any installer or to any preference
files.  It is megalomania to think that a used i-Installer package is of
the same personal importance as truly personal documents.  Even your
Addressbook and iCal data files do not make such a pretention, and they are
perfectly happy inside the ~/Library folder.

(Besides, at most one of the thinning and the fattening argument is
valid at one time, while the other will then be a counter-argument.)

(Besides, the i-Installer changes too.  In order to assure the validity
of the fat package, you should also keep a copy of the i-Installer.dmg,
and I guess you should keep it in your documents folder :-) .)

>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.

Right, then remove /Caches/ from that path, and the solution is perfect.

>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.

Very good design.  Fortunately this design is independent of where those
snapshot files are stored.

>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).

C'mon again!  Do you say 'New Document'? do you press 'Save'?  Are you
prompted with 'Save as...' to choose where to put the file (and under what
name) just prior to writing to disk?  No, these files are created and
maintained by the i-Installer application, not by the user.  Do you share
those 'documents' with your co-workers, make them available on your
personal web page, mail them to mum, print them out, or anything else that
makes sense outside the internal working of the application that created
them?  True user documents represent some reality or raison-d'etre that
precedes the application that manipulates them; i-Packages don't even make
sense without the i-Installer application --- they are really application
files or setting files, or both at the same time, or as you say, just
snapshots of a repository.

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

Thanks a lot, and sorry for taking your time.  Rest assured that I go
through this trouble only to help improving the great i-Installer.  (On
my own computer I am perfectly happy, I have changed the default download
folder, and although this setting is now an important personal setting
I did not move the plist into my Documents folder :-) .)


PS:  I followed Adam's link, and here is what Apple writes on the matter:

Don't Pollute User Space

It is important to remember that the user domain (/Users) is intended for files created by the user. With the exception of the ~/Library directory, your application should never install files into the user's home directory. In particular, you should never install files into a user's Documents directory or into the /Users/Shared directory. These directories should only be modified by the user.

Even if your application provides clip art or sample files that the user would normally manipulate, you should place those files in either the local or user's Library/Application Support directory by default. The user can move or copy files from this directory as desired. If you are concerned about the user finding these files, you should include a way for the user to browse or access them directly from your application's user interface.

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