Please no: [OS X TeX] set environment variables for applications

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at
Mon May 24 09:15:05 EDT 2004

> Hi,
> it's possible to set environment variables for all processes launched
> by a specific user (including those launched via Finder), as described
> in

Please, can somebody else than me kill this suggestion ASAP? If you start
to set variables for all applications there, the variables also go to apps
like i-Installer and not all scripts inside i-Packages are robust for an
unlimited amount of environment variable settings.

Just last week I got another weird problem with the TeX i-Package that did
not work and in the end it turned out there was a rogue TEX-env variable
in this file.

> To sum it up, create a file named ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist (if it
> does not yet exist) that looks like

Applications shoul dmanage their own environment. Changing it for all
applications because an application does not support its own set of
preferences is a remedy which may be more dangerous than the cause.

I can protect i-Installer (by killing the inherited environment and
creating my own) but the result of using this trick for anything but stuff
that is *really* global for all apps is that many apps will be forced to
make sure they are not influenced by it. Because if they let themselves be
influenced by this, they cannot predict what they get and support is a
nightmare. SO, if this is being used a lot, I am forced to limit the
functionality of i-Installer.

Changing /etc/profile is different, mainly because historically the
command line apps have been written with this in mind.

So, this is a trick that works, but in the long run we are going to pay a
price which makes it not work anymore.


> <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
> "">
> <plist version="1.0">
> <dict>
>      <key>TEXBIB</key>
>      <string>/path/to/something</string>
>      <key>SOMETHING_ELSE</key>
>      <string>/path/to/something_else</string>
> </dict>
> </plist>
> The plist header is slightly different from what's on the page
> mentioned above, because Apple introduced version 1.0 of the plist DTD
> some time ago.
> HTH,
> -Ralph.
>> Here
>> are instructions on how to get forward and reverse
>> seacrhing to work with carbon enhanced emacs (v.
>> with either MacDviX or the xdvi from tetex installed via the
>> i-Installer (the xdvi from fink should work similarly).
>> However things are not perfect.  Either forward nor reverse searching
>> work if you use the bash shell.  Also see 7.  I was hoping that
>> someone who knows more about shells, OS X, and emacs can help me out.
>> -------------------------
>> 7.  One can forgo 5 and start emacs from the finder at the price that
>>     bib-cite will not work properly.  Bib-cite needs some env variable
>>     like TEXBIB to point to the /bib files.  It is on the wish list to
>>     add kpsepath functional to bib-cite.  How one does pass variables
>>     via the finder?
>> --------------------
>> -Peter
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