[pdftex] Generating Pdftex.fmt

Ryan F. Shelley ryan.shelley at csun.edu
Sun Sep 30 23:37:13 CEST 2007

Sorry for not providing a lot more detail.  I didn't really have much to go with.  I originally downloaded the package from http://www.tug.org/applications/pdftex/ and built it with the "build.sh" script.  That is where I ran into trouble (couldn't find pdflatex, or pdftex.fmt, etc).  I then took John Culleton's recommendation and tracked down texlive, which I installed on my Mac OS X and ran the .tex file through TexShop.  That did generate the pdf.  I also noticed that when I installed texlive, it also installed the command-line pdflatex that I can now use from our scripts.


From: "George N. White III" <gnwiii at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 04:45:01 -0700
To: "Ryan F. Shelley" <ryan.shelley at csun.edu>
Cc: <pdftex at tug.org>
Conversation: [pdftex] Generating Pdftex.fmt
Subject: Re: [pdftex] Generating Pdftex.fmt

On 9/28/07, Ryan F. Shelley <ryan.shelley at csun.edu> wrote:

> I'm new to pdftex, to say the least.  I have a process that was handed down
> to me with nearly zero documentation.  Part of the process is taking a tex
> file and converting it to pdf.  The documentation says to use "pdflatex",
> however, it seems that the actual program is "pdftex".  I'm not given any
> instructions on whether I should be running pdftex with any command-line
> options.  When I run pdftex and supply the path to the .tex file I have, I
> get the following message:
> kpathsea: Running mktexfmt pdftex.fmt
> mktexfmt: No such file or directory
> I can't find the format file `pdftex.fmt'!
> I looked around for "mktexfmt" and I can't find it.  Any suggestions?
> I also don't know what version I should be using, since this process is
> several years old.  Hopefully things are backward compatible :\

You don't give much detail (see
<http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html><http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/bugs.html>).  With most
tex distributions, pdflatex and mktexfmt are included, so it is
unusual to have pdftex without pdflatex.  Has the system been changed
since the documentation was written?   Are there any old
"<filename>.log" files in the directory where "<filename>.tex" is
located?  If so, save them as they can be helpful later and will
likely be overwritten when you run pdflatex.

What happens when you run "pdflatex <filename>" in the directory where
the "<filename>.tex" file is located?

You should know that pdflatex is often configured to look for macro
files in a user directory, so what mayhave worked for the original
author may not work for you
until you track down missing files.

Depending on your environment, you may want to move to a current TeX
distribution so you and others trying to help you know what they are
dealing with.
Backwards compatibility for properly constructed LaTeX documents is
generally good, but there are many ways to write LaTeX documents so
they are less portable.   I've helped people with similar problems --
getting things working can take anywhere from minutes to weeks.  In
the extreme case, there were badly written macros, missing fonts, and
"EPS" figures that weren't proper EPS files.

TeX is a one of those milestones in the history of computing that is
worthy of study.   The sources are meant to be read.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

More information about the pdftex mailing list