[NTG-context] How can I make a Gentoo Linux package for ConTeXt LMTX?

Max Chernoff mseven at telus.net
Tue Aug 23 03:11:30 CEST 2022

Hi Amano,

> Wuh. That's a bit complex.

Not really. From a user perspective, all that you need to run is

   make install
>From a developer perspective, this is essentially just the base ConTeXt
files, a modified texmfcnf.lua, and a fairly basic makefile.

> For distribution packages that depend on context for generation of PDF
> documents, having context as a system package is essential.

I'd say that ConTeXt *is* available in nearly every package manager, via
TeX Live. Very very few package managers would have no TeX Live. TeX
Live only includes MkIV, the "stable" version, but most users won't
notice many differences from MkXL/LMTX, the "experimental" version. 

By policy, TeX Live only updates its binaries once per year. This would
be pretty much unworkable with LuaMetaTeX due to its frequent upgrades.
At some point when LuaMetaTeX is stable, the source will be released and
almost certainly be incorporated in TeX Live. 

> And, distribution maintainers can make things work if they understand
> TeX directory structure and texmfcnf.lua.

Packaging/installing ConTeXt is actually much easier than doing so for
other TeX systems. With other systems, you need to fiddle around with
fonts and packages, but with ConTeXt, you can pretty much just unpack a
few files.

Here's a short paper that should give you an overview of how hard
packaging TeX can be:


> It comes down to care. If they care and they have installation guide,
> they will make it work.

I'm not sure who you're talking about here. If you're talking about end-
users, then yes, it's pretty simple to install ConTeXt. I personally
find ConTeXt much easier to install than TeX Live.

If you're talking about packagers, then packaging ConTeXt is no more
complex than packaging TeX Live (which of course includes ConTeXt MkIV).
The installer documentation for ConTeXt LMTX certainly isn't as detailed
as it is for TeX Live, but LMTX is still beta software.

If you're trying to say that the ConTeXt developers don't care, then you
may be "right" in a sense, but missing the point entirely. There is no
one who is paid to work on ConTeXt: all of the developers work on it
either as volunteers or to support their own business needs. The current
installer works for them and for many other users. This isn't to say
that they don't care about the users, but rather that they are unlikely
to spend much time making a package for a fairly unpopular distro where
the official installer already works.

> On Sunday, August 21st, 2022 at 7:13 PM, Michal Vlasák <lahcim8 at gmail.com> wrote:

Hi Michal,

> > I prepared a proof of concept, that I am ready to take down immediately
> > at Hans' request, since I don't handle license information properly, and
> > texmf-context is stripped down (just so that the downloads are not too
> > big for proof of concept).
> > 
> > https://github.com/vlasakm/context

That's quite impressive!

> > There is documentation about how it can be used. I hope its obvious how
> > I got "texmf" (texmf-context.zip, unzip, delete some files I didn't want
> > to take up space), 

One suggestion: instead of unpacking and committing "texmf-context.zip",
I'd recommend adding 

as a git submodule. That way, it's easy to keep the files up-to-date, your
repo will use less space, and there's a clearer separation between your
package files and ConTeXt itself.

> > A bit of a disclaimer: I don't really recommend pursuing this further.
> > Some time ago I was also that foolish to try to package TeX for Linux
> > distributions. Unfortunately I think that the result will never by
> > optimal - as demonstrated by the previous discussions, the usual
> > purposes of packages (to integrate software into the system) don't apply
> > much to TeX / ConTeXt - there one wants something more or less self
> > contained (so that updates are under control, no random non-essential
> > libraries brake things, etc.).

Well packaging the files into .rpm/.deb isn't really a bad idea; what's
bad is the weird modifications that distros make, plus the fact that
nearly every distro delays updates by quite some time. I generally agree
that installing TeX straight from the source is better, although I can
see why some users prefer to install from their distro repos.

-- Max

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