[tex-live] input

Philip Taylor (Webmaster) P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Thu Feb 28 13:32:20 CET 2008

Zdenek Wagner wrote:

 > OK, I will write it more philosophically and I will end up with some
 > practical suggestions. It's quite a long mail...
 > There are four reasons why to add files somewhere and include them
 > into the document:
 > 1. [snipped, not relevant here]
 > 2. The user needs repeatedly a set of his/her own macros. These macros
 > are planned to be reused in a great many documents but are not so
 > generic as to publish them on CTAN. Although private the file should
 > have a descriptive name which is distinct enough from names of other
 > files. Placing the file on a separate directory helps its maintanance
 > but searching should be based on the filename only, not on the
 > directory. If you have c:/somepath/macros.tex and
 > c:/otherpath/macros.tex, you soon forget which is which. If the file
 > names are (quoting my favourite book) myowninvention.tex,
 > cheshirecat.tex, jabberwocky.tex, you have better chance to remember
 > what each of them is good for. And there is small risk that a file
 > with the same name will exist anywhere else along the search path.
 > These files therefore belong to a directory which is on the search
 > path.
 > 3. [snipped]
 > 4. [snipped]
 > Let's return to items 2 and 3. [snipped]

 > B. You have a file (package) that should be used by several users and
 > is not included in TL and will never be there. You put such a
 > file/package under texmf-local/tex. Remember that texmf-dist is
 > searched before texmf-local and texmf-local is outside the root of TL.
 > If the file with the same name appears in a future version of TL, your
 > file will be inaccessible. That's why I say that descriptive names are
 > important.

I think this was a long and helpful e-mail, Zdenek, but the last sentence
of the fragments I have left intact indicates what I perceive as the
heart of the problem.  Suppose that I develop a package "Cropmarks.tex",
for my own use, and I place it "under texmf-local/tex", as you recommend.
And suppose that at some point in the future, someone else working
on the same task uploads /their/ version of "Cropmarks.tex", which
then makes its way in a subsequent release of TeX Live to texmf-dist.
At that point, I have followed all of your guidelines (especially those
recommending descriptive names and file placement), yet I can no longer
access my version of "Cropmarks.tex" as I used to be able to.

Now I am prepared to accept your argument that absolute locations
are, in general, a Bad Thing [tm] (even though that is exactly
what Steve is asking for advice about, so cannot be ignored);
yet TeX Live's default configuration of searching texmf-dist
/before/ texmf-local is surely insane.  Is it not ?


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