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This is a follow on, in a way, from my question a couple of years ago about Why does TeX Live "require" yearly updates? One of the answers suggested that there was some discussion about moving TeX Live to a rolling release model (as opposed to the current freeze and release model). Has there been any further discussion on this in the past few years?

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    if you've been tuning in to the nightmare that has been involved in getting everything in synch for this year's release, i think you would think twice about asking this question. – barbara beeton Jun 6 '16 at 16:12
  • @barbarabeeton I haven't, but part of me thinks if the release is always rolling, there is nothing to sync up. – StrongBad Jun 6 '16 at 16:16
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    but many packages are "out of phase" with the latest binaries, so with a rolling release, nothing at all may be in synch, so it could become impossible to use the system. that's what the "stop and synch" is trying to avoid. (this is also the reason to avoid installing a new system in the middle of a large project, like a dissertation.) – barbara beeton Jun 6 '16 at 16:19
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    I'm very happy of the yearly release cycle; see here for the list of releases I have on my office machine. Which means I can switch to older releases to make experiments or, maybe, to use one my important project compiles with. – egreg Jun 6 '16 at 20:01
  • @egreg, I think I can beat that on our nfs system, might have it back to 2004. It gas come in handy though. Some students had a songbook that cannot be compiled with TL15 for some reason, but compiles just fine with tl14. Luckily enough, we have tl14 on offer – daleif Jun 6 '16 at 20:18
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A few answers:

  • since about 5 years we had the option for upgrading installations, so there have been rolling releases. Don't mix it up with the freeze before DVD production, as I laid out in the answer to your other question
  • this year the infrastructure has changed in incompatible way, in particular the checksum method was updated. This means that older tlmgr cannot update to newer versions.
  • that all said, you can still update using the tlmgr-update-latest release method, so again, this year we do have a rolling release, if you disregard the freeze period prior to DVD production.
  • Flabbergasted. Wonderful feature! Why download 2 GB for a new installation, if upgrading is so easy? Downloaded tlgmr-update-latest.sh, run as root in my case, renewed pinning of koma-script-repo, tlmgr update --list, seems ok, tlmgr update --all, done! I'm only a user, but what are the disadvantages of this way of upgrade? – Keks Dose Jun 8 '16 at 9:16
  • Only that you loose your old installation and cannot go back, which in particular when you use luatex related stuff can be a real problem. – norbert Jun 8 '16 at 9:23
  • Yes, I'm reading the texlive-ML. OK, so users still have a functional installation on their system, in the case compiling with LuaTex failed. Hey, btw: Thank you very much for all your time and effort in regard to texlive. Probably many, many users (including me) realise that Karl an you are doing something outstanding (sorry for bad englisch: herausragende Leistung!). – Keks Dose Jun 8 '16 at 9:36
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    The real work is done by all the package and program authors, we have to thank them! – norbert Jun 8 '16 at 10:19
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How can you roll an update to luatex that undefines many primitives, renames many primitives and has incompatible changes to the main lua node and callback interfaces?

It takes months of contacting and pre-warning package authors to make changes required. Even then not all done by time TL2016 goes live.

Not to mention testing building and packaging on all engines, not just luatex.

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