Subject: Re: packages outside of /usr/pkg (was: Re: PROPOSAL: Move /usr/pkg/etc
To: Mark Davies <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: tech-pkg
Date: 05/25/2002 15:23:15
> > (Question: Do you have your X fonts in /var?  If not, why the difference?
> > Once you have the bitmaps of the TeX fonts generated, they become
> > effectively permament parts of your system; they aren't transient unless
> > you make a special effort to clean them out yourself from time to time.
> > Just like X fonts, once the bitmaps are installed, they are there
> > ``forever''.)
> >
> > (Similar question, if you have installed, or were to install, programs
> > like KDE that have numerous little clipart-icons and sound effects: Do you
> > want those to go in /var?  If not, why not?)
> The difference I see between the TeX fonts and the others is that the TeX
> fonts are generated at some random time by some random user when they *use*
> TeX rather than when a package is installed.

Depending on your point of view, I see TeX fonts as being generated by the
TeX system, not by the user.  And they are not quite generated when the
fonts are used.  They are generated the *first*time* that the fonts are
used (provided that you have a writeable texfonts dir).  Thereafter, they
are stored forever.  (But, you clearly know TeX better than I, so I'm not
telling you anything you don't know.  However, I see this as a permament
change to the system.  Put another way, I view TeX's installation as being
incremental, simply because there's no way to know in advance the exact
subset of all possible fonts that will be required.  If TeX didn't use
bitmapped fonts, you'd know much more in advance...(^&)

Then again, the TeX fonts dir may be configured to not be world-writable
(I think that that's the default for tetex, but I can't remember).  If you
go that route, then the only fonts provided are the ones selected by the
admin.  In that case, they are essentially a static, install-time set
exactly like X fonts, yes?

If texfonts were normally purged on a periodic basis, or if the files were
deleted immediately after use, I could agree better with your perspective.
But, that's not the way that they get used unless one does soemthing
rather different with one's TeX.  (^&

  ``I probably don't know what I'm talking about.''