Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Aug 2008 23:33 UTC, submitted by Charles Wilson
Editorial GoboLinux is a distribution which sports a different file system structure than 'ordinary' Linux distributions. In order to remain compatible with the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard, symbolic links are used to map the GoboLinux tree to standard UNIX directories. A post in the GoboLinux forums suggested that it might be better to turn the concept around: retain the FHS, and then use symbolic links to map the GoboLinux tree on top of it. This sparked some interesting discussion. Read on for more details.
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RE: Do we care? Really?
by jack_perry on Tue 19th Aug 2008 02:53 UTC in reply to "Do we care? Really?"
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

We care once we have to install new fonts to LaTeX and somehow figure out that these are installed in /usr/share/texmf/fonts/... or something similar. Moreover, since that directory is protected against ordinary users, you have to have sudo access. Good luck if you're not the administrator and he thinks he has more important things to do than install your font.

Of course there are ways around this BUT the point is that it makes for an incredible hassle. If your system simply had a user-accessible virtual directory named "/fonts", and you could simply drag and drop your font there and have it instantly accessible to every program in the system because the system would by itself determine where you had permission to place the font, that would be preferable.

So I care.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by intangible on Tue 19th Aug 2008 03:28 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

You almost have that now. If you drop files in your .fonts/ directory in your home folder... most newer apps will pick those up right away if they're TTF.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by jack_perry on Tue 19th Aug 2008 12:43 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

Great. Drop your fonts into a directory that, by default, is hidden from any listing. This is exactly the problem I'm talking about.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by Gunderwo on Tue 19th Aug 2008 04:50 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
Gunderwo Member since:
2006-01-03

Allowing a regular user to install anything that can be used by other users is a security concern.

For example, imagine there was a security bug in the font rendering library and someone has created a font that exploits that security bug to scan all accessible files for a user and look for Credit Card numbers. If you allow any user to install a global font every other user on the system can be affected, however if a user can only install fonts for themselves then only they can be affected.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by DrillSgt on Tue 19th Aug 2008 07:05 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"We care once we have to install new fonts to LaTeX and somehow figure out that these are installed in /usr/share/texmf/fonts/... or something similar. Moreover, since that directory is protected against ordinary users, you have to have sudo access. Good luck if you're not the administrator and he thinks he has more important things to do than install your font."

Well, actually, to use your example, fonts can be installed in the home directory without SysAdmin interference.

We usually do not "think" we have more important things to do btw, as our job is to make sure the network and servers are up and running. You can install your font without issue on any major linux distro, by yourself, without assistance and without hacks.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[3]: Do we care? Really?
by jack_perry on Tue 19th Aug 2008 12:44 in reply to "RE[2]: Do we care? Really?"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

I think you (and most of the respondents) are missing the point, and I didn't mean all admins personally. In fact many of them have much more important things to do than install fonts.

The example is meant not about LaTeX per se (which I like and use every day) but about where it is normally installed, and how the OS interfaces with the user in ways that make no sense except to insiders, when alternative conventions are available.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by eudoxos on Tue 19th Aug 2008 09:51 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
eudoxos Member since:
2006-08-30

TeX directory structure has nothing to do with UNIX layout: it uses kpathsea to locate files (by filename, not directory) wherever they are, once they are added to the kpathsea ls-R database.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Do we care? Really?
by hobgoblin on Tue 19th Aug 2008 14:14 in reply to "RE: Do we care? Really?"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

last time i checked the fonts dir on gobolinux is /Files/Fonts...

but i admit, i have had no reason so far to install additional fonts...

Edited 2008-08-19 14:15 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2