[OS X TeX] Local additions and multiple TeX distributions

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Mar 8 11:44:02 CET 2007

Le 7 mars 07 à 22:55, Alan Munn a écrit :

> Now that I've gotten around to updating my older teTeX  
> distribution, I now find myself with two and a quarter TeX  
> distributions: Gerbens' based on TeX Live, (which I installed with  
> i-installer) the MacTeX TL distribution and the leftover  
> texmf.local from my old teTeX distribution.  So here's a few of  
> questions:
> Since I have up-to-date versions via i-installer of Ghostscript,  
> fondu etc., I didn't install any of these when I installed MacTeX.  
> Is this the correct strategy?

You can also let MacTex install its versions of GhostScript, Fondu  
and the like. These are identical to the most recent versions  
installed by i-Installer, and the corresponding receipts are also  
installed by MacTeX, allowing transparent mix of i-Installer and  
MacTeX installations.

> Some things that were in my texmf.local are now included in TL, but  
> not in Gerben's distribution.  So I guess I need to selectively  
> copy what was in my texmf.local to the TL texmf-local, right?  (I  
> have multiple users using TeX, so I don't generally install things  
> in ~/Library/texmf except for testing purposes)
> Am I getting myself into a lot of hassles with two distributions,  
> since I will need to make local additions in two places, or can I  
> make texmf-local a symbolic link to (the new) texmf.local (or vice  
> versa)?  Are there advantages to making the link in one direction  
> or the other (or is is just a bad idea?)
> Since Gerben's distribution is a subset of TL, I suppose it would  
> make sense to add all new additions to texmf.local, and make texmf- 
> local a symbolic link to texmf.local.  If I do this, and a package  
> is simultaneously in TL and in texmf.local, which will take  
> precedence?  (If I keep the local additions up-to-date this  
> shouldn't pose any problems if the texmf.local files take precedence.)

Do *not* make /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/ a symlink to /usr/local/ 
gwTeX/texmf.local/: the texmf.local directory of gwTeX is not quite  
the same as it used to be in teTeX:

- In teTeX, texmf.local was the repository of both user-added files  
and files generated at install time (global map files such as  
psfonts.map and pdftex.map, format files such as tex.fmt, hyphenation  
configuration files such as language.dat, and so forth).

- In gwTeX, the repository for user additions is texmf.pkgs, and the  
repository for generated files is texmf.local.

Hence, by making/usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/ a symlink to /usr/ 
local/gwTeX/texmf.local/, you would break MacTeX by making it use the  
generated files of gwTeX instead of its own generated files within / 

Currently I think the only safe solution is, sadly, to maintain two  
local trees, one in /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/ for MacTeX and  
the other in /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.pkgs/ for gwTeX, taking into  
account the differences between the default contents of MacTeX and  
gwTeX. For example, support for the Adobe Euro fonts is built-in  
within MacTeX but is absent from gwTeX; as a consequence, my texmf- 
local for MacTeX does not include the Adobe Euro support files, while  
my texmf.pkgs for gwTeX does.

The above, of course, provided you have the two TeX distros, MacTeX  
and gwTeX, installed simultaneously. This situation is not optimal,  
and is confusing for the users, and I think that one distro will  
prevail in the long run, making it unnecessary for users to worry  
about such things.

Another (untested) possibility: create a directory /Library/TeX/ 
Local/, say, and put there your local additions, mimicking the  
structure of texmf trees inside it; then edit texmf.cnf for each  
distribution, namely in /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.cnf for gwTeX set:


and in /usr/local/texlive/2007/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf for MacTeX set:


This would make both gwTeX and MacTeX use /Library/TeX/Local instead  
of /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.pkgs/ for the first and /usr/local/texlive/ 
texmf-local/ for the second. Beware though, this is very likely to  
break your setup; I don't have time for experimentation currently and  
I won't attempt this myself. Likely causes for breakdown:

- The functions of texmf.pkgs for gwTeX and texmf-local for MacTeX  
aren't exactly the same: texmf.pkgs is also the place where i- 
installer puts additions to TeX (such as TeX-Gyre, CM-Super, MusixTeX).

- The very intricate TeXDist structure could be broken by the above.

Hope this helps,

Bruno Voisin
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