[tex-live] Directory structure

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Thu Jan 19 22:34:26 CET 2006

Karl Berry wrote:
> Hi Peter,
>     down to making the TL* installers use the same default each year? 
> The Unix TL installer has used /usr/TeX every year since its inception
> (I think) until last year.  So it's not a matter of it warping all
> over the map.

In that case it's me. I could have sworn that /usr/TeX was new last
year, because my previous install (TL, Linux, 2003) went into 
/usr/local/texmf and I don't think I asked for that.

> I wanted to change it because, first, /usr/TeX seems like totally the
> wrong place these days.

It absolutely is, which is why I was astonished at anyone choosing it.
It flies completely in the face of the accepted norm (/usr/local).
At least we're not doing an IBM and insisting it goes in /opt :-)

> Second, having a static path was misleading -- installing release N in
> /usr/TeX and then installing release N+1 in the same /usr/TeX has never
> been a good idea at all.

Umm. Installing in /path/to/app-x.y and softlinking the current version
to /usr/local/whatever is a fairly standard practice though.

> The new location is /usr/local/texlive/YYYY, to ameliorate this.

This is a big improvement (and doing away with the caps is good too).

> Before, the documentation *recommended* that you change the default to a
> path like that.  That seemed dumb, so I proposed changing the default in
> the first place.


>      "your TeX system (ie your texmf directory) is put at /usr/TeX"
> But documentation could never have said that and be correct more than a
> tiny fraction of the time.  The default is just the default.  In fact,
> everyone I know changed it.

On Linux, sure. The real problem comes with Windows users.

> Also, it very much varies by platform -- probably c:\texmf (c:\tex?) is
> the most common on windows, 

The Windows users I have spoken to about this are baffled that it's
not in C:\Program Files where everything else is. But given the probs
with spaces in file paths (make you go bald, teeth fall out, lower
the libido, start nuclear wars, etc) it's understandable. What the
users don't understand is why TeX systems have problems with filepaths
containing spaces. Or other random punctuation.

> /usr/local/teTeX on Mac, and
> /usr/{bin,share,...} on Linux (most people run the teTeX that came with
> their system, rather than installing TeX Live on their own).

See my gripes passim ad nauseam about the Red Hat RPMs of tetex :-)

> It doesn't seem like a matter of getting acts together to me; there *is*
> no location which will suit a plurality of sites.  In fact, it might be
> better to have no default at all :).

Thanks for clearing this up.

>     virtues of the TDS
> Well, I like the TDS less every day :).

That too seems to change rather a lot. Maybe it's just perception.


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