[OS X TeX] Re: Changing Configurations

Christopher Brislawn brislawn at lanl.gov
Tue Dec 6 13:22:15 EST 2005

> > On 11 nov 2004, at 21:25, Gerben Wierda wrote:
> >
> >> It is better to add this to /usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf than changing
> >> the one Maarten points to. The one Maarten points to is overwritten
> >> on every install of TeX Programs. The one in
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf is saved as a copy when you configure TeX
> >> and it has been changed with respect to the default one. The
> >> /usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf contains overrides for the one Maarten is
> >> writing about.
> >
> > Can this other configuration file also be used to override other
> > parameters? For some of the larger pictures (metapost -> mptopdf) I
> > need to enlarge both pdflatex and mpost to the largest sizes for some
> > of their parameters. It would be nice if the system remembered those
> > changes (or if they could be made in a location where they can be
> > merged with your defaults (taking the largest of the two...)
> Yes, you can. Some parameters change (like memory) do require a rebuild
> of the formats, though. Having intelligence enough to do what you want
> on changes soon turns into AI-like qualities and can't be done.
> G

Is there a way to create a *personal* configuration file that will 
override the default configurations used by gwTeX?  
/usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf looks like a system-level config file, not 
like something for individual users to customize (especially multiple 
users).  Moreover, while it may be saved as a backup copy in subsequent 
reconfigurations/reinstallations, you'd still have to go back and 
manually copy your personal edits into the new texmf.cnf file after any 
such update.  Editing /usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf just isn't consistent 
with what I've read about the preferred approach to gwTeX 
personalization for individual users.

For instance, I want Latex to search all subdirectories of my current 
working directory for input files, but the default path is:

dilbert:~ brislawn$ kpsewhich -progname=pdflatex -show-path=.tex
.:/Users/brislawn/Library/texmf/pdftex/latex//:  etc.

Looks like the correct solution is to redefine TEXINPUTS.pdflatex, so I 
created a file ~/Library/texmf/texmf.cnf containing the single line:

TEXINPUTS.pdflatex = .//;$TEXMF/{pdftex,tex}/{latex,generic,}//

but it doesn't seem to override the default configuration.  I also 
guessed that maybe I should put my personal texmf.cnf file in a 
~/Library/texmf/web2c/ subdirectory (because there is also a 
/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf file), but that didn't 
work either.  Recalling how we used to do this in the olde days, I 
would really rather not clutter up the unix shell namespace with TeX 
variables given that there is a TeX-specific configuration mechanism in 
place.  (Besides, TEXINPUTS.pdflatex is a regular expression, which 
makes it a poor choice for a shell variable name.)  The TeXShop, gwTeX, 
teTeX, and TDS documentation have not been helpful in this matter, nor 
have I found better matches in previous posts than the above message.

In summary, how do I customize my gwTeX configuration without editing 

Many thanks for all the helpful advice offered on this list!


Chris Brislawn  <brislawn at lanl.gov>

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