[OS X TeX] Symlinks

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Sat Jan 16 16:41:09 CET 2010

On Jan 16, 2010, at 12:22 AM, Alan T Litchfield wrote:

> Hi,
> Is there any reason why you can't put the .sty file into .../texmf- 
> local/ on each of the machines?
> Cheers
> Alan
> On 16/01/2010, at 4:38 PM, Alain Schremmer wrote:
>> In order to keep my preambles, etc as short as possible, I  
>> use .sty files. Since I don't know what I am doing, I proceed by  
>> trials and error which works but at the cost of many different  
>> versions.

You missed the key sentence here: "I don't know what I am doing".

Also, what I didn't make clear is that the sty files in question are  
not the ones that come from the packages but only the ones I make to  
push preambles into the background,

Here is my situation. I am using LaTeX in two ways: as a typesetting  
tool but also as a programming language with probsoln for  
ancillaries: homeworks, quizzes, reviews and exams, etc all of it to  
end as files up in the sky that other people can use under a GNU GPL.  
This then raises two issues:

a) The user has to be given as many different choices as possible,  
e.g. multiple choices versus open, workspace for the student or not,  
answer grid or not, answers in the form of a list or in the form of a  
key for the response grid, etc (Else, by Hestenes' dictum, regardless  
of the merits of the text, instructors won't use it.)

b) Most of the potential users are presumably entirely innocent of  
LaTeX. (The one-click installation of TeX is a blessing in that  
regard.) So, the stuff has to be usable by no more than just  
commenting this or that and the preambles visible to the user have to  
be as lean as at all possible. Hence the sty files in question.

As all the people who have put up with me on this list know, I am  
chewing more than I can really handle and I can proceed only very  
incrementally with my "programming". As a result, I found that now my  
biggest problem is to keep everything in line and consistent as I am  
progressing: Each time I think of something that will give the user  
an extra choice and/or simplify the "interface", I have to propagate  
this improvement, if only to make sure that it is consistent with the  

So, it turns out that my allergy to upgrading is rather convenient  
and, even if my ass-backwards use of symlinks will eventually cost me  
when I do upgrade, I will still be well ahead of the game. Or so I  
hope. But I think that the worst that will happen is that I will have  
to redo about a dozen symlinks which SymbolicLinker makes a breeze  

All this explaining of course is just to pave the way for the  
unavoidable days when I will need even more help to bail me out of  
this or that new hole I will have dug myself into while trying to  
implement my next bright idea.

Best regards

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