[Fedora TeX Live] biblatex-apa requires biber now, packaging Biber?

Alexander van Loon a.vanloon at alexandervanloon.nl
Tue Feb 21 20:44:57 CET 2012

Hello all,

First of all I'd like to thank Jindrich Novy and everyone else who is
working on getting the LaTeX packages in Fedora up to date. Before
Fedora I used Ubuntu which has totally outdated LaTeX packages,
requiring me to download quite a few packages manually. You all rock for
making the life of LaTeX users a lot easier! Hope this still makes it to
Fedora 17.

However, there is a problem. When my system downloaded an update for the
biblatex-apa package recently, I observed that using this package no
longer worked because it now requires biber.

The description of the package
texlive-biblatex-apa-2011-8.4.4.svn25208.noarch.rpm which was uploaded
on 04-Feb-2012 08:08) according to
http://jnovy.fedorapeople.org/texlive/2011/packages.fc16/ reads:

This is a fairly complete biblatex (v0.9a+) style (citations and
references) for APA (American Psychological Association) publications.
It implements and automates most of the guidelines in the APA 6th
edition style guide for citations and references with a few (documented)
exceptions (which are mainly currently impossible to automate in
principle for any BibTeX- backed system). An example document is also
given which typesets every citation and reference example in the APA 6th
edition style guide. This version of the package requires use of
biblatex v1.4 and biber v0.9 (at least).
date: 2012-01-25 23:56:43 +0100

In the documentation for biblatex-apa which available here
http://www.ctan.org/pkg/biblatex-apa the following can be read in the
section 'Important Changes':

biber is now required. This is because APA style needs a custom sorting
scheme and only biber supports this. bibtex support is going away in
biblatex eventually anyway so it’s best to switch.

More research revealed that a bug report requesting to package biber was
filed two years ago – https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=584063
– but was refused on the grounds that TeX Live didn't include it because
it had too many Perl dependencies. However, since a year ago –
http://www.texdev.net/2011/03/10/biber-now-in-tex-live-2010/ – it has
been included in TeX Live 2010.

Also read https://sourceforge.net/projects/biblatex-biber/files/ where
it says in the README that they distribute binaries now which don't
depend on Perl.

Given that biblatex-apa and biblatex itself in the future will require
biber and the problem of Perl dependencies and non-inclusion of Biber in
TeX Live seems to have been solved now, would it be possible to package
Biber for Fedora?

Alexander van Loon

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