[OS X TeX] Finally we are grown up

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Sat Nov 18 04:45:22 EST 2006

On Nov 18, 2006, at 03:21, Enrico Franconi wrote:

> The lack of dependencies' maintenance in the i-installer is what made 
> me choose fink (with its GUI, FinkCommander), and now darwinports 
> (with its GUI, PortAuthority) to install libraries and binaries other 
> than the TeX distribution. If you have a complex unix system, you can 
> not simply upgrade/uninstall a library without checking whether this 
> has been used by other stuff, which may depend on it or on a 
> particular version of it.

There are several strategies possible here. Fink & Darwinports follow 
the "splendid isolation" strategy. This enables them to have more 
control. i-Installer installs what is the result of downloaidng and 
compiling from source and installing in its default place (generally).

i-Installer has dependencies handling (both required and recommended) 
and you will get warnings about the inavailability of required dynamic 
libraries. The funny thing is that it does not matter to the user if 
these libraries have been installed by i-Installer or any other system 
(like downloading and compiling by hand). i-Installer will perfectly 
detect the availability of freetype as a prerequisite for ImageMagick 
but it does not force you to use i-Installer in installing this.

> If you use your computer in several different ways, the i-installer 
> may disrupt in a very subtle way your system.

I recall only one case where the system was disrupted. This was when 
someone had installed the libpng i-Package (in /usr/local) and had set 
a dynamic library loading flag in ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist. As a 
result of this setting in ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist, the Finder 
wanted to link to the PNG library in /usr/local and this failed.

Personally, I would classify this as one of the dangers of using 
environment.plist. The same problem would have occurred if you had 
downloaded and installed libpng from source with "configure" and "make 
install" (or whatever default mechanism libpng uses)

> It seems to me that the i-installer is very good at its job for users 
> who do not install any other library in any other way.

The philosophy of i-Installer is the opposite, see dependency example 


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