TeX Live 2017 pretest started

Preparations for the release of TeX Live 2017 have started a few days ago with the freeze of updates in TeX Live 2016 and the announcement of the official start of the pretest period. That means that we invite people to test the new release and help fixing bugs.

Notable changes are listed on the pretest page, I only want to report about the changes in the core infrastructure: changes in the user/sys mode of fmtutil and updmap, and introduction of the tlmgr shell.

User/sys mode of fmtutil and updmap

We (both at TeX Live and Debian) regularly got error reports about fonts not being found or formats not updated etc. The reason for all this was unmistakably the same: The user has called updmap or fmtutil without the -sys option, thus creating a copy of set of configuration files under his home directory, shadowing all later updates on the system side.

Reason for this behavior is the wide-spread misinformation (outdated information) on the internet suggesting to call updmap.

To counteract this, we have changed the behavior so that both updmap and fmtutil now accept a new argument -user (in addition to the already present -sys), and rejects to run when called without either of it given, giving a warning and linking to an explanation page. This page provides more detailed documentation, and best practice examples.

tlmgr shell

The TeX Live Manager got a new `shell’ mode, invoked by tlmgr shell. Details need to be flashed out, but in principle it is possible to use get and set to query and set some of the options normally passed via command lines, and use all the actions as defined in the documentation. The advantage of this is that it is not necessary to load the tlpdb for each invocation. Here a short example:

[~] tlmgr shell
protocol 1
tlmgr> load local
OK
tlmgr> load remote
tlmgr: package repository /home/norbert/public_html/tlpretest (verified)
OK
tlmgr> update --list
tlmgr: saving backups to /home/norbert/tl/2017/tlpkg/backups
update:   bchart             [147k]: local:    27496, source:    43928
...
update:   xindy              [535k]: local:    43873, source:    43934
OK
tlmgr> update --all
tlmgr: saving backups to /home/norbert/tl/2017/tlpkg/backups
[ 1/22, ??:??/??:??] update: bchart [147k] (27496 -> 43928) ... done
[ 2/22, 00:00/00:00] update: biber [1041k] (43873 -> 43910) ... done
...
[22/22, 00:50/00:50] update: xindy [535k] (43873 -> 43934) ... done
running mktexlsr ...
done running mktexlsr.
...
OK
tlmgr> quit
tlmgr: package log updated: /home/norbert/tl/2017/texmf-var/web2c/tlmgr.log 
[~]

Please test and report bugs to our mailing list.

Thanks

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