[NTG-context] "Update ConTeXt" + standalone distr (Windows)

Mari Voipio mari.voipio at iki.fi
Mon Sep 11 17:18:33 CEST 2006

With my new work computer I finally gave up on my old but working ConTeXt 
in TeXLive2004 and upgraded for good to the standalone distribution, run 
on hard disk. One of the new things I found in the Tools menu was the 
'Update ConTeXt' command, so today, when I'm *not* in the middle of a 
urgent project, I decided to try it out.

Good news: for the first time in my ConTeXting career, I managed to 
update my system without reinstalling the whole thing. And the very new 
ConTeXt version (today's?!) compiles my ever-important manuals without 

Somewhat bad news: without fiddling, the updating gets stuck at unzipping 
after downloading, because 'unzip' is not in the path and that's it then. 
So it is not quite on 'Windows dummy' level yet, although real close.
Note, though, that the standalone distribution I use is about four weeks 
old, I might be complaining about something that's already fixed!

How I solved it: just today, I dug out an old tool and learned that it 
ain't gonna work without cygwin. Installed Cygwin, dumped the tool in the 
bin directory - and realized, that my cygwin/bin also contained a file 
called 'unzip.exe'. Putting it (cygwin/bin) into my Windows path didn't 
help (not a recommendable operation for standard users anyway), but then I 
realized that 'standalone' really is standalone and copied 'unzip.exe' to 
where my ctxtools.bat lives, i.e. 
\ConText\usr\local\context\tex\texmf-mswin\bin - and presto, the update 
went through. It seems to me that it even generates formats on the fly, so 
with one mouse-click I can get the most up-to-date ConTeXt.

How I think this might be solved:
In the texmf-mswin\bin directory, there is a 'gunzip.exe'. If I remember 
correctly, gunzip is fairly simple to use, so this might just mean a 
change somewhere in the stand-alone package so update would use gunzip to 
unpack the update files.
Or, as it seems to me that different types of 'unzip.exe's are public 
domain stuff, just include that in the standalone distribution and 
everything works (no other changes were needed, just bringing 'unzip.exe' 
into the correct directory.

I really like the standalone distribution. Of the many ConTeXt variations 
I've used until today's date, this year's standalone has been the most 
Windows-minded and most Windows-friendly in many ways. It works 
out-of-the-box (has less options to uncheck than Word), seems to live 
happily even under C:\Program Files and has a logic that I as a 
non-programming Windows power user find easy to follow. I no longer need 
to refer to the manual to get as far as to compile a test pdf with 
standard postscript fonts, now I can concentrate on the layout, not the 
innards of TeX.

So, even though there are slight blemishes and wrinkles to be ironed out 
like this update thing, ConTeXt in Windows is definitely becoming a nice 
package for those of us who find that Word just doesn't do what we want. 


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