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I am creating a small header file for students that they need to include in the preamble of their document. The changes are minor enough to not need a class file.

However, I do not want them to accidentally change it, and also, terms of copyright of some stuff in the preamble are such that they should not be able to access it from off-campus (rules set up by beancounters).

Is it possible to write something like:

\include{http://private.universityname.edu/~users/teacher1/preamble.inc}

and have it work?

The private URL is accessible from only inside the University, and yes, while students can easily browse to the preamble file and download it while on campus, this solution is good enough for the beancounters.

This has the added flexibility of letting me influence the format of the reports without forcing the kids to download new versions etc.

Bonus question: can we do something like this for class files?

\documentclass[options]{http://...}
  • No, on its own LaTeX cannot go online, and really shouldn't – daleif Sep 1 '15 at 13:52
  • Additionally, I'd suggest to have a chat with the "beancounters", as you call them, and try to explain them the thing, mainly the point that it is absolutely impossible to have the students include something in their LaTeX source code while preventing them from having access to it off-campus. I do not think it is a good idea to pretend that their rule makes sense (and can be enforced), if it obviously is not the case. – Philipp Imhof Sep 1 '15 at 13:58
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    Don't have the students access to a university texsystem when on the campus where you could put the file? Btw: You shouldn't use \include in the preamble, use \input or \usepackage instead. – Ulrike Fischer Sep 1 '15 at 14:01
  • It is obviously not a constraint I am happy with. Left to myself, I would add these modifications to the giant class file I have already written for the University, and distribute it on CTAN. One of the big sticking points is that I have translated the logo of the University to tikz format for better quality as well more fancy stuff that becomes possible. The beancounters are not intellectually (go figure!) capable of understanding these arguments. – user2751530 Sep 1 '15 at 14:03
  • Right. It should be \input, but the University does not have the same TeXLive installation seamlessly accessible to all the machines (the filesystem for Windows machines, which are a significant fraction of the total number, is an utter mess). I also do not have admin rights. Most students use texlive on their laptops to prepare reports. – user2751530 Sep 1 '15 at 14:05

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