[OS X TeX] PATH mystery

Ettore Aldrovandi ealdrov at math.fsu.edu
Sat Aug 3 05:48:18 CEST 2013

On Fri, Aug 02, 2013 at 06:09:47PM -0700, Michael Sharpe wrote:
> After cleaning up some setup files on my machine, I ran across the following oddity, which I am unable to understand.
> I had removed /usr/texbin from PATH in ~/.profile and made it an entry in /private/etc/paths. After a restart, echo ${PATH} showed it was in the path, and I could run things like kpsewhich from the command line without problems. However, when I tried to run autoinst and otftotfm, I experienced continual errors. For example,
> autoinst --target=./texmf ...
> gave
> Unknown option: target
> whereas
> /usr/texbin/autoinst --target=./texmf ...
> did not complain. Likewise,
> otftotfm -e fontools_ly1 ...
> gave
> otftotfm: encoding 'fontools_ly1' not found
> whereas
> /usr/texbin/otftotfm -e fontools_ly1 ...

> worked as expected. All these problems vanished after I returned
> /usr/texbin to PATH in ~./profile. 

I take this is a typo and you meant ~/.profile

> It would appear that
> /private/etc/paths (and /private/etc/paths.d) processed by path_helper
> do not make PATH elements with the same status as those set directly in
> a bash initialization file. 

Unlikely. Bash executes /etc/profile, which in turn calls path_helper.
But the outcome of /usr/libexec/path_helper -s is exactly the line:

PATH=/usr/bin:/bin:.....; export PATH;

which gets evaluated, because path_helper is invoked inside an "eval"

How exactly did you add /usr/texbin? As a file in /etc/paths.d or as
an entry in /etc/paths ? The latter is only (in theory) for the default
path, and additional stuff should go in /etc/paths.d. For TeX, create a
file in there with 


as its single line.

One wonders if the PATH was not set correctly and you have some other
version of the binaries installed somewhere (/usr/local/bin perhaps?).
BTW, which perl was executed? In other words, 

type perl

returned what?

I don't know if it helps, there are more questions than answers…

Ettore Aldrovandi
Department of Mathematics, Florida State University
1017 Academic Way		 *    http://www.math.fsu.edu/~ealdrov
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510, USA * * aldrovandi at math dot fsu dot edu

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