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

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at
Tue May 25 05:53:25 EDT 2004

On 25 mei 2004, at 11:08, Kino wrote:
> On May 25, 2004, at 03:43, Gerben Wierda wrote:
>> On May 24, 2004, at 17:31, Kino wrote:
>>> What do you mean by *applications*? If that's Aqua apps, you would 
>>> confuse user defaults -- mostly set from Preferences GUI -- with 
>>> variables defined by environment.plist. I use it, for example, to 
>>> set $PATH for shell commands executed via TextExtras or from within 
>>> Aqua applications such as TeXShop and Xcode. If I'm not mistaken, 
>>> this works also with BBEdit that I don't have.
>> For command line programs which we start from the shell, we do not 
>> have the alternative.
> This is what I mean by "set $PATH for shell commands executed via...". 
> Perhaps "TeXShop" may have misled you, but what I had in mind is a 
> shell script I use as program in Preferences:Engine. I need my own 
> script for some reasons.

GUI applications can use their own, private settings -- usually managed 
through the system defaults. You could pass some special path to the 
script in an argument to this script (and use the full path to the 
script when calling it), you could set the path for your restricted 
shell. Isolate the changes you make to your own application.

>> But for GUI apps, we generally have. We can set variables per app, 
>> and thatis what we should do. Changing environment.plist is just a 
>> lazy solution.
> You seem to be confused. As far as I understand, environment.plist has 
> nothing to do with Preferences settings of GUI apps.

Yes and no: the environment variables set in environment.plist are 
forced down the throat of all GUI applications, and they in effect 
become part of the preferences of that application. To make maters 
worse, there is not much an application can do about it.

At the same time, GUI applications can set their path privately. Since 
this will not cause problems in other applications, it is the preferred 


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