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The author of marginfix / blockmargin is/was interested in a certain loss of functionality from one version of the marginfix package to the next. Out of interest and curiosity I wanted to see what this blockmargin environment was all about. However, only the most up-to-date versions of packages are available for download from most repositories.

Is there an archive of historical versions of packages available (on CTAN, perhaps)? Hopefully something similar to this historical, stable version archive of beamer. Or is this all left up to the package authors? And I doubt whether Wayback Machine would be that good a place to start...

I am not planning on using the older version, since they may have deprecated functionality that does not interface well with other packages.

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Funny, I just tried to get the old version of marginfix from the TeXLive SVN repository to manually add it to my CTANHG site, but there is only one old version marked as "new package" and this doesn't has the blockmargin environment in it as well. The only difference is that the INS file doesn't include the debug tag any longer. Where there versions of this package around before it got on CTAN? –  Martin Scharrer Oct 21 '11 at 9:21
    
I added now the older version of marginfix manually: ctanhg.scharrer-online.de/pkg/marginfix –  Martin Scharrer Oct 21 '11 at 10:37

5 Answers 5

up vote 23 down vote accepted

I'm actually working on an archive of CTAN using automated Mercurial repositories for the last two weeks. The CTAN content is mirrored daily and each CTAN package (with exceptions) is committed to its own Mercurial repository.

This is currently online as http://ctanhg.scharrer-online.de/, but not 100% finished yet. Also, it might not handle large loads well. You can get each archived version as ZIP or Mercurial clone.

The marginfix package entry is under http://ctanhg.scharrer-online.de/pkg/marginfix.html. Update: I now manually added the older versions of this package. However, they weren't published on CTAN so I took them from the git repository. I only took the very first and last revision because they had versions attached to them.

All my own packages are accessible as normal Mercurial repositories under https://bitbucket.org/martin_scharrer/. These hold any commit I do, not just the CTAN releases. However, every released version is tagged and can therefore be retrieved easily.

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Would you be interested in older versions of packages provided by the package authors? –  domwass Oct 18 '11 at 11:11
    
@domwass: Yes, but it depends in which form I would get them. I also only archive released versions. –  Martin Scharrer Oct 18 '11 at 11:30
    
Very interesting and exactly what I had in mind for quite some time. How can one help? –  Martin Schröder Oct 18 '11 at 17:31
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@MartinSchröder: Thanks for the offer! It isn't completely finished yet. I'm still adding some features to the python script I programmed for it. I'm also happy to receive suggestions about the web interface. Futhermore older versions might be manually converted from the TeX Live SVN repository. Please contact my by email (address is on the website), so we can talk about it more. Note there is now a bug/suggestion tracker under bitbucket.org/martin_scharrer/ctanhg –  Martin Scharrer Oct 19 '11 at 9:20

CTAN holds the current release of each package: the 'archive' in the name is more because it's a single source for 'everything' than meant to imply a record. (Remember that before CTAN collecting TeX sources meant trawling many different author-maintained sites.)

Maintaining a 'back catalogue' of material is down to each package author, and as a result many packages have limited or no publicly-available source repository. The nearest you can get is probably the TeX Live SVN, which gets updated each time a package is changed in TeX Live. Of course, that means anything 'non-free' will be missing, and very occasionally will miss a short-lived version of a package. The later is most likely around the yearly TeX Live freeze.

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there are only archives of complete TeXLive versions:

ftp://tug.org/historic/systems/texlive/

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Exactly what I was looking for myself. I might feed this into my repositories. –  Martin Scharrer Oct 18 '11 at 9:19
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Some background about this archive can be found here: tug.org/TUGboat/tb29-1/tb91vieth.pdf –  Ulrik Vieth Mar 14 '12 at 21:54

I cannot answer the question in general, but I know the repository for marginfix in particular: https://github.com/shicks/marginfix

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As a member of Dante (and I think also TUG and other TeX User groups) you get each year a DVD with the actual data from CTAN. So you could build a archive of CTAN extracts.

Sure, it will not solve your problem now and you get only a yearly extract and not each version.

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