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

Alex Hamann Alexander.Hamann at
Sun Aug 27 10:01:30 CEST 2006

Am 27.08.2006 um 01:15 schrieb Rowland McDonnell:

>> Le 26 août 06 à 19:46, Rowland McDonnell a écrit :
>>>> 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.
>> That's the normal way i-Installer works: when an installation has
>> aborted before completing and you are starting again, or when you are
>> installing a new version of an i-Package, i-Installer re-downloads
>> the whole package from scratch. That's not a bug, but intended  
>> design.
> You are making many invalid assumptions.
> Nothing had aborted.  I simply tried to download another package (I
> forget which one) and the hundreds of megabytes of data belonging to
> other packages was deleted - the whole lot.  This is a bug, not any  
> sane
> design.
>> As regards the way to use it, that's pretty simple:
> So you say - but there is no manual that explains what exactly
> i-installer is going to do in response to user input.  One simply  
> has to
> trust that it's going to do the right thing.  Unfortunately, what the
> author thinks is the right thing isn't necessarily what I want.
> That wouldn't be a problem if the documentation explained what the
> standard behaviour was and provided information to allow the user to
> modify that behaviour - but the i-installer documentation does not
> provide that information, and (much worse) it deletes data without
> warning and without any hint anywhere that it's going to do anything
> like that.
> That is definitely a bug.
>> open a known i-
>> Directory, open the i-Package to install, if necessary press  "Update
>> Self From Remote" in the "Pkg Properties" tab, then press Install.
>> And answer the questions you may be asked afterwards, if any (that
>> depends on the i-Package).
> The problem is that the i-installer documentation does not explain  
> what
> it's going to do.  And since you tell me that it's correct  
> behaviour to
> delete all the packaages you've previously downloaded successfully  
> when
> you ask it to get a new package that has not previously been  
> downloaded,
> I have to say that i-installer is either completely insane or that you
> are mistaken about something.
> For all my criticisms of i-installer, I don't think the author has
> written completely insane software, so I am led to the conclusion that
> you are mistaken about something.
>>>> 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.
>> No other doc that I know of, apart from the comments in texmf.cnf.
> Which does not explain the syntax.  There must be such documentation.
> As it happens, I've found it: section 3 of the Kpathsea library
> documentation
> (/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/programs/kpathsea.pdf,  
> which you
> very kindly directed me to).  If you'd not pointed me at the file
> concerned, I would never have found it - so this mailing list has been
> useful.  Specifically, *you* have been of great help to me, for  
> which I
> am grateful.
> Now, it's going to take a hell of a lot of work to gather together all
> the extra information necessary to interpret the Kpathsea  
> documentation
> - but I think I can do it.  It'll be at least a week's work, I reckon.
> I shouldn't have to do so much work to get to grips with something as
> straightforward as this.
>>> [...] 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.
>> This is all explained in
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/README.howtexfindsfiles
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/README.texmf.gwtex
> It is not explained.  Nor is the syntax of the file explained, so I
> cannot interpret the contents of the texmf.cnf files.  There's not  
> a lot
> of point in me trying to read those files until I've understood their
> syntax, and (as I say) that'll be a lot of work on my part.  I can now
> do that since I've found some of the essential documentation which  
> ought
> to be more readily available than it is, and I'll put the work in, of
> course.  When I've done that - well, I'll probably have some more
> confusions I'll have to ask about :-/
>> Namely, in texmf.cnf, the line
>> coupled with
>> TEXMFTE = $SELFAUTOPARENT/share/texmf.tetex
>> TEXMFGW = $SELFAUTOPARENT/share/texmf.gwtex
>> TEXMFLOCAL = $SELFAUTOPARENT/share/texmf.local
>> HOMETEXMF = $HOME/Library/texmf
>> means that the following texmf trees are searched, in decreasing
>> order of precedence:
>> ~/Library/texmf
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex
>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf
> What do you mean by `decreasing order of precedence'?  I want to know
> which files are used, and I cannot work that out from what you say.
> You might mean that the first instance is used - is that what you  
> mean?
> In the case of fontinst, it searches for stuff in a specified order of
> precedence, and uses the last occurance.  So by telling me of the  
> order
> of precedence in searching, you might be indicating that the last
> occurance is used.  Or perhaps the first.  I don't know which.  I need
> (preferably) some documentation or (failing that) some kind person to
> tell me.
>> kpsewhich gives more precise answers: where a specific TeX executable
>> (tex, latex, pdftex, pdflatex, xetex, and so forth) looks for a file
>> of a certain type (TeX input file, TFM file, PFB file, and so forth).
>> By using for example
>>   kpsewhich --progname=pdflatex --show-path=.tex
>> you would have got the answer (reformatted here for clarity)
> <sigh>  But I cannot interpret what this means.  I do not have enough
> information to do so.  I need a manual to explain what all this stuff
> means.  Yes, I see paths to directories.  Yes, so they are searched in
> this order.  But so what?
> What I need to know is this: is the first instance of a file used, or
> the last?  Please tell me.
>>   .:
>>   /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/pdftex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/pdftex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/pdftex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/pdftex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/pdftex/latex//:
>>          /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/tex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/tex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/latex//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/tex/latex//:
>>          /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/pdftex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/pdftex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/pdftex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/pdftex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/pdftex/generic//:
>>          /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/tex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/tex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic//:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/tex/generic//:
>>          /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/pdftex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/pdftex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/pdftex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/pdftex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/pdftex///:
>>          /Users/<yourusername>/Library/texmf/tex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/tex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex///:
>>          !!/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/tex///
>> telling exactly where and in which order (by decreasing order of
>> precedence)
> I see that phrase again: `decreasing order of precedence'.  I still do
> not understand what it means.  Do you mean that the first instance is
> used?  Please just tell me.  It can't be hard to stop being cryptic  
> just
> for minute, surely?
>> pdflatex (invoked when TeXShop compiles a LaTeX file in
>> pdfTeX mode) looks for a file of extension .tex (and .cls, .sty, .fd,
>> and so forth). Namely first the current directory, then ~/Library/
>> texmf/pdftex/latex, then /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/pdftex/
>> latex, and so forth.
> For sure.  But which files get used?  Those that come first in the
> searching order, or those that come last in the searching order?
>> As far as I'm concerned this discussion is closed.
> Fair enough.   Of course you are under no obligation to engage in
> anything at all.  But I still don't understand.
>> Complaining a
>> software works the way it does, because you would like it to work
>> differently, calling this a bug,
> I think you must have misunderstood something.  The behaviour I met  
> was
> certainly a bug.
>> and then calling the developer
>> names: this is just a waste of everybody's time.
> Excuse me?  Where have I done that?  I said he helped me get started
> with i-installer.  I said he didn't seem concerned about the data loss
> I'd suffered.  I've described the i-installer documentation as  
> hopeless.
> In this message, I've explained that I didn't think he'd written
> completely insane software.
> Where, in all of that, is there any name-calling of the developer?
> I can't see anything remotely `name-calling' about any of it.
> You've accused me in public of some pretty unpleasant behaviour.  Can
> you show me where I did it (maybe I did and I've forgotten)?
> - to my mind, you've descended to calling me names, which is just a
> waste of everyone's time.  I realise that by writing about this  
> issue in
> a message that's going to the TeX on MacOS X mailing list, I too am
> wasting everyone's time - but since you have basically libelled me as
> far as I can see (I could be wrong - if so, please correct me, and I
> shall apologise to all concerned), I'm irritated enough to do so.
> Rowland.


after reading all your concerns about iI I can´t help but wonder why  
you  would want to start using it once more? If  you don´t trust it,  
why not just leave it?The whole discussion seems a little weird,  
given the fact that you can´t quite remember what exactely happened  
that day when you lost your files (I would expect the same level of  
clarity here that you are asking for regarding the details of the  
texmf-issue) and nobody else seems to have witnessed similar  
problems.  In case you decide to give it another try: good luck - and  
maybe you will be surprised to find yourself among all those who do  
not have any issues with iI at all (would be glad see that happen).


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