[OS X TeX] Question about the Multiple TeX Data Structure

Ghyslain Leclerc ghleclerc at gmail.com
Wed Mar 29 13:49:48 CEST 2023


Sorry for the long mail.  I can be verbose.

So, I have been trying to replicate the MacTeX "Multiple TeX / TeX data structure" initially developed by Gerben Wierda and Jerome Laurens, both to learn more about it and because I want an install location that is not /usr/local and that is not supported by the MacTeX installers (as far as I understand, sorry if I am wrong).

I have a small program that will write the data structure (with slight modifications, but nothing major or that would affect what I am inquiring about here).  I used the program to create data structures (I have installed and created multiple in order to test and understand) and even "TeX Live Utility" seems to recognize the links as valid distributions.  So far so good.

Then, my partner tried using LaTeX on my computer (we share for some things) and I realized there is something I don't understand.  In the data structure, there are these links (just an example for some hypothetical distribution):

   ... /Distributions/TeXLive-2023-Basic/Contents/Local/TEXMFHOME -> /Users/me/Library/texmf
   ... /Distributions/TeXLive-2023-Basic/Contents/Local/TEXMFCONFIG -> /Users/me/Library/texlive/2023basic/texmf-config
   ... /Distributions/TeXLive-2023-Basic/Contents/Local/TEXMFVAR -> /Users/me/Library/texlive/2023basic/texmf-var

and looking at it, I realized that if my partner wanted some custom things installed just for him (we tend to not have the same needs in terms of packages), it would not work because the links are pointing at my Library folder and not his.  And to my knowledge, there is not way to make links point to multiple places on macOS.

So I am wondering if this is a limitation of the data structure or something I misunderstand?  Is the data structure OK for multiple TeX installations, but not really for multiple users?  Or is there something I am doing wrong with those links (I installed MacTeX itself after realizing this to confirm that the links are the same as those I was writing and they appear the same to me)?

Hope my question makes sense and that someone might have insight into this.
Thanks in any case.

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