[texworks] integrating TeX Works into TeX Live

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Sun Mar 15 05:09:17 CET 2009

On 14 March 2009 Stefan Löffler wrote:

 > Hi,
 > since I don't have any experience in TeX development I have a not very
 > philosophical, but quite practical question:
 > Are the $TEXMF... a de-facto standard throughout all (major) (La)TeX
 > distributions? I.e. do distributions other than TL use it as well, e.g.
 > MikTeX on Windows?

I think so.  All current TeX distributions comply with the "TeX
Directory standard".  See:


And on older systems like EmTeX it will be impossible to compile
 > And to finally get a little more philosophical: IMO TW config files
 > should not necessarily be stored in the TeX config directories as TW is
 > not part of TeX. It can in principle be used without any installed TeX
 > distribution, for example. So sticking to config files either in the
 > user's configuration directory or in the TW directory (for global
 > settings) seems reasonable to me. $TEXMF... directories could be used in
 > addition (maybe as a fallback), but personally, I wouldn't use them as a
 > standard.

So let me explain my philosophy:

Unlike most other programs, TeXworks is very much TeX related.  You
can't use it for anything else.  This is true for other TeX shells
too, but let me come back to this issue later.

TeX Live 2008 is a multi-user/multi-platform system now.  The biggest
difference between TL-2007 and TL-2008 (besides network
installation/updates) is that on TL-2008 almost everything behaves
exactly the same on Unix and Windows now.  It was not easy to achieve
this, but I'm very glad about what had been achieved.

For example, a big advantage of TeX Live 2008 is that you can have a
portable TeX Live on your USB stick now, which works on all platforms
which are currently supported.  I'm using Linux at home and have to
use Windows at work, the TeX Live system on my USB stick works on both
systems, and at our local TeX meeting at the University it worked
perfectly on a laptop running Mac OS X.

It's much more difficult to achieve this if programs depend on
platform specific directories.  And it would be quite nice to be able
to run TeXworks from my USB stick too, on all platforms supported by
TeXworks and TeX Live.

Regarding all the other TeX shells, IMO it's a pity if they don't make
use of TDS, but on the other hand, none of them is supposed to be
cross-platform.  Thus, it's fine if they put their config files into a
directory which exists on Windows only.

My personal opinion is that it's easier to support cross-platform
systems if programs obey the "TeX Directory Standard". 

And I really want to be able to have TeX Live and TeXworks on my USB
stick and it should work with any supported platform.


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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