How to keep a dependency from [continually] appearing in setup

Adam Dinwoodie
Thu Aug 2 11:28:00 GMT 2012

Ken Brown wrote:
>On 8/1/2012 10:18 AM, Ryan Johnson wrote:
>> It can be argued that emacs-auctex should not pull in texlive. Most
>> users installing emacs-auctex will already have some flavor of tex in
>> place, and not necessarily the cygwin one (like the OP, or perhaps a
>> MikTex user). Plus, the error message is pretty intuitive and the
>> solution very simple, if latex is not there: "latex: no such command"
>> ==> "maybe I should install latex." Therefore, the expected aggregate
>There's more to it than that.  emacs-auctex installs stuff needed for
>its preview feature in /usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/preview/.  This won't
>be found by native texlive or by MikTeX.
>> frustration of users who installed auctex without latex available would
>> likely be far lower than the aggregate frustration of users wanting to
>> install auctex and getting saddled with an unwanted redundant texlive
>> distribution (for which there is no easy solution).
>Why is this so frustrating?  It doesn't do any harm (except waste a
>small amount of disk space) to install Cygwin's texlive in parallel with
>native texlive.  Just make sure the bin directory of the latter precedes
>/usr/bin in PATH.  I myself have both installed, since I sometimes find
>it useful for testing purposes to be able to switch from one to the
>other (by temporarily changing PATH).

I'd draw a parallel between the emacs-auctex's dependency on latex and libX11's
dependency on xorg-server: while xorg-server is certainly the preferred X
server for Cygwin, it's not the only option[0].


I've no particular preference for whether one package includes another that is
a "soft" dependency, but I do think it's important to maintain consistency.
Either dependencies where some users are likely to want to use non-Cygwin tools
should be installed regardless, or they should not, and that should be applied
across the board.

Inconsistency harms least astonishment, and harming least astonishment makes me
very sad.

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