[OS X TeX] OS X TeX newbie needs help installing TeX on non-boot volume

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Sun Sep 11 17:50:05 CEST 2005

On Sep 11, 2005, at 14:59, Rowland McDonnell wrote:

> (Gerben, why didn't you just tell me this months ago when I asked you?)

I wrote then:

>> Also: is there any way of arranging things to install any of this 
>> software in a non-default place?
> Some packages support this other not, this depends on the contents of 
> the package and the author of the package. TeX is relocatable. 
> ghostscript is not because ghostscript itself is not easily 
> relocatable after it has been compiled. You can install TeX somewhere 
> else by changing the install location in the Pkg Properties tab. 
> However, most other packages are not relocatable because they are so 
> closely connected to the Unix level of Mac OS X.

With the symlink trick I put in the other message to the list, 
Ghostscript is still installed as /usr/local/bin/gs etc. and is used 
that way. But via the symlink, the files end up on /Volumes/My 
Disk/local/bin/gs or something along those lines. The *install 
location* does not change but the *physical location* does.

Using symlinks is elegant. Sadly though, not all programs are 
symlink-robust (originally Apple's own installer was not) and thus 
using them comes with a risk. Not from i-Installer but from other 
programs. Hence, I generally do not promote the solution even if 
i-Installer itself is symlink-safe.

The mount example in my other post is *very* robust because /usr/local 
will remain a true directory. Making typos in files like /etc/fstab has 
led to kermel panics at boot time (in a remote OS X past), however, so 
one needs to be *very* careful. That is why I generally do not promote 
it. I do not want to be made responsible for getting someone's system 

Give the fact that both ways of going to non-standard locations come 
with risks that are generally beyond the skills/knowledge of most 
users, I generally do not promote them. I personally like 'location 
independence'. Sadly though, the situation on a unix system is such 
that file location is a pretty brittle element of the system. Hence, it 
is not "my way or the high way". It is just that I know from experience 
that moving away from the default locations is a thing with a price and 
that as someone supporting a community of users, I pay part of that 
price as support requests end up in my mailbox.


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