[XeTeX] fatal format file error; fmtutil infinite recursion

Lars Huttar lars_huttar at sil.org
Fri Nov 2 20:14:55 CET 2012

Peter Dyballa wrote:
> Am 01.11.2012 um 19:56 schrieb Lars Huttar:
> >/ When I run xetex, I get the error "Fatal format file error; I'm stymied"
> /
> This is obvious: the (/usr/local/texlive/20XY/texmf-var/web2c/xetex/)xetex.fmt file is not OK, does not match the xetex binary. The way to correct the problem is to rebuild the file.
> >/ When I try to correct the problem using fmtutil, I get the error
> />/ "Infinite recursion detected, giving up!."
> /
> When you're using "fmtutil" instead of "fmtutil-sys", which must be run with elevated privileges, i.e., with "sudo", you're going to build a private FMT file. This fails, presumingly because the configuration file for the FMT files is not OK. You can determine that file by invoking
> 	kpsewhich fmtutil.cnf
> and check its contents. The command
> 	fmtutil --catcfg
> should type the configuration file's contents as well.

Interestingly, the last two options give me different results.
Maybe fmtutil --catcfg parses and processes the config, and outputs it
in a somewhat different format.

In any case, I have the contents. kpsewhich said fmtutil.cnf was in
I've posted it at http://pastebin.com/nE9P11FG

> OTOH: why are you using a five years old TeX?! Is CentOS really so far behind or is it just your set-up?
> Create the FMT files by running as root fmtutil-sys!

When you say "running as root", do you mean while logged in as root? Or
just sudo?

I removed /root/.texlive2007, and ran "sudo fmtutil-sys --all"
The same "infinite recursion" message still appears.

I've updated my post at

Thanks again for your help.

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