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Almost out of sheer frustration, I'm on the verge of writing a Python script that will automate the install of both local TDS packages and those retrieved automatically from CTAN, without regard to the differing repositories compiled by TeXLive/MikTeX, and regardless of the TeX distribution used (among the popular choices).

Has this already been done? I'd rather not reinvent the wheel.

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    @JosephWright I think that it is unnecessary to have something which can install every package but that it would be very useful to have something to install "well behaving" (local) packages - where "well behaving" can mean a tds.zip or a package with an accompaigning xml-file describing the installation. In miktex the first works fine by attaching the package as root. For TeXlive I just wrote a feature request on the mailing list -- but I'm not sure that I was convincing enough to get such an interface ;-(. Feb 19, 2014 at 17:37
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    A Python installation script I've written for one of my packages is here. It would need some modification for your purposes, but might provide some ideas if you do write something.
    – G. Poore
    Feb 19, 2014 at 20:15
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    @Josef: I know. I added trees in texmf.cnf too. But this is not something you can explain easily to users. Try to write down easy to understand installation instructions which works in all OS and you will see the problem. Feb 19, 2014 at 20:29
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    You want tlmgr. Sorry, but the amount of possible variations is huge: simple LaTeX packages are one thing, font packages a completely different one, because they require editing updmap.cfg (and if you want compatibility with all distributions it's a nightmare) and run updmap-sys (or equivalent for MiKTeX); format packages (think Lollipop) need to update fmtutil.cfg and run fmtutil-sys. Note that some font packages on CTAN provide more than one .map file.
    – egreg
    May 12, 2015 at 22:38
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    @egreg I would love to use tlmgr personally, but my use case at the time distributing a package to a variety of complete TeX newbies one all major platforms. (I even had to turn one guy on an android tablet down...) They didn't know how to use their respective package managers -- some didn't even know what it was they downloaded. A answer might take the form of script checking for relevant programs (tlmgr, mpm, etc.) and running the appropriate stuff. May 12, 2015 at 22:50

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