[OS X TeX] iinstaller packages are not documents

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Sat Mar 5 07:59:39 EST 2005

Please do not go into a near-flaming mode. As long as there is a 
civilized exchange I'll play ball. As I said, this is a difficult 
decision and caricaturing either choice is not helping us.

Having said that,

On 5 Mar 2005, at 12:12, Joachim Kock wrote:

>> 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
>     ~/Library/i-Installer/i-Packages
> would be a very good choice.

Yes, that could be.

>> 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.

No. This is definitely not application support in the same way that 
.pkg bindles are not application support for Installer.app

>  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?

It is a difficult road to talk about less or more personal. I consider 
mail most personal, bit it lives in ~/Library.

>> 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.

This is not helpful language. And I never argued that it was.

> Even your
> Addressbook and iCal data files do not make such a pretention, and 
> they are
> perfectly happy inside the ~/Library folder.

As is Mail. As I wrote: more or less personal is not a helpful 

> (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.)

I am aware of that. For one person, having the i-Package available 
without dependence on remote locations is important, for another it is 
not. There is no single answer.

> (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 :-) .)

There is an i-Package for i-Installer. ;-) But generally, i-Installer 
is/should be backward compatible with i-Packages, though this is not 
very well maintained.

>> 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.

Perfect for you. For other, having the i-Packages in plain sight is 
also helpful (where did my disk space go?)

>> 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'?

Yes, in i-Installer it is called New from URL because that is the only 
way you can create a new document.

> do you press 'Save'?

No, but save is automatic because there is no roll back for changes you 

> Are you
> prompted with 'Save as...' to choose where to put the file (and under 
> what
> name) just prior to writing to disk?

Not all applications have a save as. But the design of i-Installer 
could easily get that capability. It is just not useful enough that I 
have built it.

> No, these files are created and
> maintained by the i-Installer application, not by the user.

Well, .rtf documents are maintained by TextEdit or Word and not by the 
user. Etc. The fact that you do not see something resembling an editor 
does not mean you are not maintaining the bundle. You can remove parts 
from it, you can set properties that are kept inside the package, etc. 
That is editing.

> 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?

Actually, yes that happens. Some people copy them to a CD-R for other 
people to install.

> 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 personally do not think that this line of reasoning makes sense 
because it is too absolute.

>> 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 :-) .)

Just to add one thing: this is something I could change in an upcoming 
release. i-Packages *are* documents (not caches, not applications or 
application files), but maybe (just as Movies and Music are documents) 
they should not reside in ~/Documents.


~/i-Packages (don't like this one, clutters your home dir)
~/Library/Application Support (don't like this one, it is not 
application support, this one is out afaic)


PS. I am aware of what Apple writes about the subject. A location 
inside Library does make sense, it is just that as long as I have not 
written an interface in i-Installer to browse the packages in the 
defaul save location, sticking them there more or less 'hides' them. I 
agree that ~/Library might be a good location, but it does require more 
functionality in i-Installer. Any volunteers writing this? ;-) (That is 
after using CURL so that authenticating proxies may be supported, after 
a way to have 'chained'  packages so you get some sort of .mpkg and 
after some levels of auto-install).

I suggest we end the discussion here. I am not against moving to 
~/Library, let us keep it at that.

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