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I do not want to reinvent the wheel, so perhaps you could help me find a tool that fits my needs.


As far as I know, it takes some time to get a LaTeX package available on CTAN. And some people (including me) develop packages on Github etc. So it would be nice to have a tool (just like apt-get or tmgr) which can manage LaTeX packages outside of CTAN.


  • Cross-platform The tool should run on all major operating systems and should be compatible with TeXLive and MiKTeX.
  • Github support Download and update LaTeX-packages from services like Github / Sourceforge / Google Code.
  • Command-line interface There should be options to update all installed packages or install a package from a given URL
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closed as not a real question by zeroth, ralfix, Speravir, Thorsten, Martin Schröder Apr 11 '13 at 6:30

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

If this not what TL-contrib strives at solving? – Martin Heller Apr 6 '13 at 9:46
In my opinion there is no need for such a tool. Every author can upload the package and it will be available via the installed package manager in 2 or 3 days. The normal user will use the installed packages from the LaTeX distribution. To create a package for CTAN you can use tools like ctanify. – Marco Daniel Apr 6 '13 at 9:54
It's absolutly no problem to get anything on CTAN. It takes 1-3 days, thanks to the CTAN team. I uploaded something yesterday and it was available at the core server a few hours later. The real problem is that developers do not or do not want to release on CTAN. The CTAN team would be happy to install all TeX related software to also get it into TeXLive and MiKTeX. so please, release on CTAN. It's just uploading a zip file. – Josef Apr 6 '13 at 9:55
@ralfix In that case you should contact the maintainer of circuitikz and ask him/her to include your symbols. If he/she is not willing to include, create your own package. But not a simple file copy. Load circuitikz in your package with \RequirePackage to profit from updates of circuitikz and add your symbols. Upload to CTAN. Why should that be a problem,as you said other user might need it as well. – Josef Apr 6 '13 at 10:20
A tool doing this, could be nice but CTAN is the central network where all users search for packages. If now packages are provided by CTAN, github etc. it will be hard to figure out, which package to get from where. I also have a problem with the idea of getting package-updates from something like github. These are development versions often containing errors. Only stable versions are uploaded to CTAN so you can expect them to be stable and working. – Stephan Lukasczyk Apr 6 '13 at 14:13

To create such a manager the biggest problem is the following: How to convert from arbitrary layouts (as created by the authors) automatically to TDS (TeX Directory Standard) layout.

There is a partial solution which we use when pulling from CTAN into TeX Live, it is a script called ctan2tds which knows a lot about many different packages and how to convert them to TDS layout. It even has an automatic mode if nothing special is specified. This automatic mode works quite well for simple packages, but no way for slightly involved packages.

Now for the super-tlmgr: There are several problems to be overcome:

  • inclusion/extension of ctan2tds: this is probably the easiest part
  • teach the super-tlmgr how to access a variety of sources (git, svn, zip, tar.gz, flat files, ...)
  • make it platform-independent (good luck! I know how hard it is on Windows)

That said, it is not impossible. I envision a tlmgr extension that includes the ctan2tds code base, and in addition the user-mode patches so that one can install into arbitrary trees. The super-tlmgr would download the package from whatever source, try to run ctan2tds code on in, and put it into a temporary TDS folder and present the outcome to the user, offering to install or drop.

Of course, version checks, upgrades, etc etc might be problematic in this case.

Last thing: I don't think that I will ever have time to work on that. And there is another thing, namely that the ctan2tds code needs a rework and streamlining ...

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