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 19:46:10 CEST 2006

> > [snip]
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> i-Installer has never erased any data for me, and I have never
> >> heard of anybody for whom it has but you. It must be some error
> >> you have made which produced this result.
> Howdy,

Hello :-)

> Where did you put this data that was lost when you used i-installer  
> and what were you installing? 

I didn't put it anywhere.  It was all in the folder that i-installer put
the freshly downloaded data in.  i-installer just threw away
*everything* that it had previously downloaded when I asked it to fetch
me something new - I forget the details.

Nothing to do with me.

It seems pretty obvious to me that i-installer's got a bug or several
that don't often show up, and one (or more) happened to show up when I
was using it.

>I've also never had a problem with  
> files I put into texmf.local getting lost. The simple answer, if  
> you're worried about that, is to make a copy of texmf.local before  
> doing the update.

I'd rather that someone helped me learn how the syntax of texmf.cnf
works so that I can add my own parallel texmf tree.  Do you know if
there's any documentation which explains how the syntax of these
texmf.cnf files work?  If you do, I'd appreciate if you'd tell me where
to find it so I can learn what I need to learn to do what I want to do.

> Of course, if you put files in other branches of  
> tree, e.g., texmf.textex or texmf.gwtex, you WILL lose data when  
> there is an update; the only safe way to do an update and (almost)  

Almost isn't good enough.  I really don't like working like that *at
all*; I'd rather stick with CMacTeX: I've read the manual (it's got
comprehensive, accessible documentation, thankfully), learnt how it
works, and I can be sure about it.

> guarantee not to have incompatible file versions is to delete and  
> rebuild those directories.

Umm.  How would one do that?  And how would one know to do that?  I see
a lot of apparently duplicated data in the various texmf directory trees
that have been installed by the MacTeX installer.  It's a bit worrying,
especially since I've not yet found out in what order teTeX searches the
directory trees, nor have I been able to find out whether it uses the
first match it finds or the last one.  Do you know the answer to either
of those questions?  I'd like to find out, y'see, and I can't find
anything that'll tell me.


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