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I am finally updating my MiKTeX installation, and I noticed that the wizard wants to install something called

miktex-cairo-....
miktex-graphite2-...

What are they?

  • As far as I can tell, cairo is a graphics system, whereas Graphite is a font rendering system. – ChrisS Jul 19 '14 at 0:53
  • cairo is a vector graphics library. graphite2 is a reimplementation of the SIL text processing engine. At least, that's what my package manager says. I assume they are needed for some GUI included in MiKTeX. It is possible that TeX Live would also install them in the case of Windows, as well. (But I don't use Windows and don't really know.) On a GNU/Linux system, they are common components of systems with graphical interfaces (as opposed to text-only systems). I don't know the miktex versions but in themselves cairo and graphite2 are perfectly standard. – cfr Jul 19 '14 at 1:39
  • Thank you cfr! That is exactly what I was looking for. Maybe you want to upgrade your comment to an answer, so I ca credit you with it? – ltcomdata Jul 19 '14 at 19:03
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cairo is a vector graphics library. For example, if, for some reason you ever take it into your head to compile something like GIMP yourself on OS X, then one of many things you need to obtain and compile first will be cairo.

<off-topic>Nowadays, of course, you'd just download GIMP.app but in the olden days, many hours of fun were to be had failing to compile GIMP for OS X. The first time I finished, I realised it was largely immaterial whether it crashed on launch or not - merely having compiled something was the achievement!</off-topic>

graphite is a reimplementation of the SIL text processing engine. At least, that's what my package manager says.

I assume these are needed for some GUI included in MiKTeX. It is possible that TeX Live would also install them in the case of Windows, as well. (But I don't use Windows and don't really know.)

On a GNU/Linux system, these are common components of systems with graphical interfaces (as opposed to text-only systems). TeX Live does not install them on these systems, but TeX Live does not provide any GUI stuff on these systems. You'd almost certainly have to install cairo, at least, if you wanted to view a PDF, for example, because many PDF viewers are poppler-based and poppler depends on cairo.

I don't know the miktex- versions but in themselves cairo and graphite are perfectly standard.

I have graphite version 1.1.3.3. because LibreOffice requires it. graphite2 appears to be a development version. At least, the stable version for GNU/Linux still seems to be version 1. But it may well be that graphite2 is required by newer Windows systems or that the development version addresses serious bugs which don't affect GNU/Linux builds. Or maybe MikTeX just like to live dangerously ;). But the danger would be in bugginess, if anything - there's nothing sinister about this software.

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