[XeTeX] Do we really need XeTeX specific paths? (was: Experiences with XeTeX on Debian Sarge and Ubuntu Edgy Eft)

Ralf Stubner ralf.stubner at physik.uni-erlangen.de
Tue Oct 24 19:55:30 CEST 2006

[resending, since the original didn't make it to the list]
Jonathan Kew <jonathan_kew at sil.org> writes:

> I think this indicates an incorrect TEXINPUTS.xelatex value in  
> texmf.cnf. I have seen some distributions that ship with a setting  
> such as
>    TEXINPUTS.xelatex = .;$TEXMF/tex/{latex,generic,}//
> predefined. (From memory, may not be precisely what you have.) This  
> is not a good search path; I recommend something like:
>    TEXINPUTS.xelatex = .;$TEXMF/tex/{xelatex,latex,generic,}//
> instead.

Do we really need XeTeX specific path settings? I have the impression
that they are a constant source of errors and confusion, and I like to
simplify stuff. 

Let's look at the actual files installed in these directories:

* .ini files:


Like other .ini files, these should be placed in


* updates to LaTeX style files (currently url.sty and xkeyval.sty):

These should go somewhere below TEXMF/tex/latex/, so that other engines
together with the LaTeX format can profit from the updates.

* XeLaTeX specific style files (fontspec, euenc, xltxtra, xunicode,

These packages give an error message when not used with XeTeX as engine.
IMO this is better than a 'file not found' error when accidentally
running say pdflatex on a file meant for xelatex. Hence I think
TEXMF/tex/latex/ is better.

* Configuration files for various LaTeX packages (graphics, color, crop,
hyperref, geometry)

These files should be modified such that they can distinguish between
being loaded by XeTeX, pdfTeX, TeX, ... and incorporate the default
behaviour from the relevant packages. I think this is one of the things
that has to be done for getting XeTeX into TeX Live.

IMHO there is no need for separate XeTeX specific directories in the
TEXMF tree. Comments?


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