additional texmf tree for all users (was Re: [OS X TeX] Beginner help with TeXshop/MacTex needed)

Rowland McDonnell rjmm-lists1 at
Sat Aug 26 12:56:52 CEST 2006

> On 8/25/06, Herbert Schulz <herbs at> wrote:
> >
> > On Aug 25, 2006, at 3:09 PM, William Adams wrote:
> >
> > > While I'm not able to directly help --- this did spark a question
> > > I've been pondering for a while now --- why not add an additional
> > > texmf tree for all users of a given Mac as a standard part of the
> > > install?
> Editing
> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/web2c/texmf.cfg one can add the whole 
> forest :-)

Hmm.  I've looked in that directory, and I can't see any such file.

There is a texmf.cnf file - but isn't one supposed to edit a similar
file elsewhere in the directory tree for this kind of local

And, more importantly, how does one learn to make these modifications?
I've looked in a few of these .cnf files, and I really do need some
documentation to explain what's going on.

Is there any documentation to explain how to edit these files to get 'em
to do what you want?  I'd very much like to add my own parallel texmf
tree, y'see.

It's how I've got CMacTeX and OzTeX set up, and I've found over the
years that it's saved me an awful lot of bother despite the fact that,
especially in the case of CMacTeX, I had a week or two of severe
headaches sorting it out in the first place (CMacTeX comes with enough
documentation to allow the user to do that).

So: can anyone help me figure out precisely which texmf.cng file ought
to be edited, and how to do so?  A pointer to the documentation would be
fine - but I can't find any relevant documentation myself.

Any hints?  Please?  Anyone?

(being unable to do any file searches of the relevant files is a bit of
a problem in this case).

(I am very worried about i-installer overwriting my data - in my
previous attempt to install and use a modern Mac TeX (before MacTeX was
put together; I tried using i-installer, and abandoned the attempt after
some weeks of trying to crack it), I did find that i-installer threw
away several hundred megabytes of data I'd downloaded (mostly via my
dialup line), which did make me pretty unhappy.  It's not safe software
to use if you ask me - I intend to do a full backup before I run
i-installer, *every* time I run it.  I have the disc space to do so


> Sure, but if someone is a paranoid: i-installer installs (a very few,
> cm-super f.e.) packages here and if the names of packages coincide
> the old package will be overwritten

It's not paranoid to say `Well, i-installer has already deleted hundreds
of megabytes of data I wanted to keep, so I suspect that it might
destroy data in the future if I use it again'.

Since i-installer does blindly over-write things without warning - well,
of *course* it'll delete data you want to keep.

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