[OS X TeX] Re: Installing unstable packages

Michael Sharpe msharpe at ucsd.edu
Fri Feb 18 17:47:11 CET 2011

On Feb 18, 2011, at 8:27 AM, Theo Moore wrote:

>> You can simply run
>> kpsewhich pgfplots.sty
> Perfect. Thanks Herbert. Indeed it was running the pgfplots from the
> texmf-var directory. I realised that I had to add an extra package
> (polar) to use the polaraxis option from the pgfplots package.
> Now, I'd like to understand a little bit better what happened, so I
> can avoid asking so many questions in the future.
> Can someone give me a reference or explain how the latex or texlive
> directory structure works? How did latex know to use the new pgfplots
> in ~/Library/texlive/2010/texmf-var instead of elsewhere? Moreover, I
> noticed that other people recommended other directories. For example,
> Herbert suggested ~/Library/texmf/tex/latex/ instead...
> It would helpful if someone simply listed out all the various folders
> one should be acquainted with and each of their purposes. This has
> always been a source of confusion for me.


The reasons I suggested installing in texmfvar were:

1. It is the first texmf tree searched, before ~/Library/texmf, texmflocal, texmfdist. (That's the normal search order.) 
2. texmfvar is impermanent---nothing of lasting value should be stored there, so it can be deleted without causing problems.
3 Uninstalling from other locations is tricky because folder contents may be merged at some level.

I'm glad to hear it's now working. To uninstall the unstable version, use the command

rm -rf ~/Library/texlive/2010/texmf-var


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