[OS X TeX] Best place to put updated Babel?

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Mon Oct 16 22:21:22 CEST 2006

On 16-okt-2006, at 3:25, Rowland McDonnell wrote:

> I'm using a recently downloaded MacTeX, which doesn't have a complete
> Babel distribution.

Quick question for Richard Koch: a) MacTeX is based on i-Installer  
with the "full" install option, does that include the documentation  
as delivered with i-Installer, expert install, install everything? b)  
if not, how hard is it to make that part available as a separate  
download, and include it in the DVD version?

> Because I wanted to have a complete Babel distribution, including
> installer files and full documentation, I downloaded the current Babel
> distribution from CTAN and put it all in this directory, which is a
> system-wide additional texmf tree searched before all directory trees
> except for `this user's texmf tree':
> /Users/Shared/texmf.rjmm/tex/generic/babel/
> The original MacTeX installed Babel resides here (with the  
> documentation
> in a different folder):
> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/babel/


> On the one hand, it's unlikely that the Babel that I've added will be
> messed up by an installer or anything else (what I'm seeking to  
> avoid),
> but on the other hand, if I should happen to upgrade at some time (I
> know nothing about this process yet), I'd have to remember to `unplug'
> my added Babel because it'll probably be out of date.

OK, probably true.

> Then again, I'd
> probably want to re-download the current Babel and so on to get the  
> full
> installer package with the full documentation - but that would take me
> remembering to do so, and I can't use my own mnemnonic directory
> structure to help me keep track of such things any more, because  
> I'm now
> constrained to use TDS conventions (at least to a limited extent).

Here is how I would handle that (or rather should handle that):  
whenever something is downloaded from CTAN, I drag a link to that  
page to a top level folder somewhere in that tree, for instance:

/Users/Shared/texmf.rjmm/Installed Stuff/

That gives you a nice set of links to revisit after the dreaded  
update. You can organise this bit in any way you like.

> So what I'm wondering is: is it sensible of me to put the updated  
> Babel
> where I've put it, or should I have put all the components in the
> standard places:
> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/[tex|doc]/generic/babel/

I think that the whole point of your own tree is to install stuff  
there, right? I can see why you'd want it there, but to be honest, I  
think it is more trouble than it's worth, the general advice is to  
leave the .tetex and .gwtex trees alone. On the other hand, by  
installing in a location that is sure to be overwritten in the end,  
you will avoid the clash between private old, and installed new. It  
probably comes down to personal preference: when in doubt, flip a coin.

> And are there any downsides to not following the strict letter of the
> TDS by keeping all the Babel files together in the one place?  I can't
> see any - admittedly, the automated `stuff' for accessing  
> documentation
> and whatnot won't succeed in finding the documentation I've got
> available for Babel now, but I don't care about that because I know
> where to find the documentation and I find it much easier to just  
> go to
> the right directory and open the file I want.

apart from texdoc not working as advertised, no. I do it all the time.

> The alternative seems to be going via the texdoc system, but  
> texdoc's no
> use at all for browsing - it's slightly useful if you've been told  
> what
> to type or have found out somehow, but useless otherwise.  I can't see
> me having much use for texdoc - except perhaps as a more convenient
> method of finding particular files than using the find command from  
> the
> command line.

A quick question for Adam Maxwell: I assume that to find the local  
documentation, TCOBrowser uses texdoc behind the scenes, or at least  
requires a full TDS compliant system. Is that correct? Or does it  
just search through the whole tree?

> So I don't see any downside to me keeping the documentation with the
> source code and installed code all in one directory - or have I missed
> some subtlety somewhere?

TeXnically you are correct, the documentation will not get in the way  
of TeX operations.

The thing you may have missed is TCOBrowser [1], a gui which allows  
you to search through CTAN, the TeX catalog, and allows you to open  
local documentation files. Depending on what Adam answers to the  
question above, you can decide what to do.


[1] http://tcobrowser.sourceforge.net/
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