additional texmf tree for all users (was Re: [OS X TeX] Beginner help with TeXshop/MacTex needed)

Victor Ivrii vivrii at
Sun Aug 27 07:16:03 EDT 2006

Dear Mr McDonnell,

I tried to answer your question but stopped when I realized that you
belong to intersection of two categories of people:

(1) those break whatever they touch (I install and upgraded tetex on
at least 10 Macs belonging to me, my family, my colleagues belonging
to the same category (1), and never ever had any problems with
i-installer; machines had running MacOS X 10,1 to 10.4.*, PPC and
Intel and the people who you had classified as weird probably together
have experience with hundreds of installations;

(2) those who blame others in all their problems. You see, among the
people who you have classified as weird are some of the most
knowledgeable and helpful people on this list (I do not include myself
in this category) who answered your question but tried to warn you
that departing from the standard way is not well tested and also could
lead to unpredictable consequences in the future.

I do not like to start the flame war but I feel that you crossed few
lines (insulting the real experts who tried to help you). Believe me,
if your posts were in  texhax or pdftex lists, you will be incinerated
long ago.

PS I am aware that top-posting is depreciated but I feel that forcing
the reader to go through your quoted post amounts to the cruel and
unusual punishment


Victor Ivrii, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto

On 8/27/06, Rowland McDonnell <rjmm-lists1 at> wrote:
> [snip huge amount of quoted text that's completely redundant and should
> not have been re-sent to the mailing list]
> > after reading all your concerns about iI I can´t help but wonder why
> > you  would want to start using it once more?
> Umm.  Using what, exactly?  And why the hell should it matter to you?
> This is a technical mailing list, but you lot seem to have spent more
> time trying to bully me into compliance with what you consider to be the
> correct (i.e., what Gerben Wierda set up) method of working than giving
> me the technical help I've requested to do what I want - which happens
> not to be the same as what Gerben Wierda wants - why not?  If
> i-installer had decent documentation, maybe I'd be able to learn to
> trust it.  Since it doesn't, and since I have a large accretion of TeX
> additions in a single directory tree - well, I've posed my technical
> questions to help me deal with these issues in my migration from
> CMacTeX/OzTeX to teTeX.
> But you, for example, have done nothing to provide technical assistance.
> What was the point in you sending your frankly rather unpleasant and
> personally insulting message to the mailing list?  It's really rather
> unhelpful if you ask me and, to my mind, very much off topic.
> >If  you don´t trust it,
> > why not just leave it?
> Well, if you'd been paying attention, you'll have noted that I've not
> attempted to use i-installer this time around, and also that I have only
> mentioned it (to speak of) in response to weird people demanding that I
> justify my reasons for wishing to do things the non-standard way before
> they'll give me the simple technical information I'm requesting.  I find
> this behaviour bizarre to say the least.
> >The whole discussion seems a little weird,
> > given the fact that you can´t quite remember what exactly happened
> > that day when you lost your files
> <sigh>  Of course I can't.  It was about a year (or more?) ago.  Who
> bothers to keep track of things like that?
> I don't want to discuss the data loss caused by i-installer - I view
> what happened as a minor inconvenience that happened a long time ago,
> and I intend to avoid it happening in the future and by doing backups, I
> shall ensure that (actually, I started doing the backups back then -
> after the first data loss.  I didn't get a repeat, but I never did get
> i-installer to do anything that gave me a working TeX installation, so I
> gave up on it in disgust.  But that is *NOT* what I'm here to talk about
> - the fact that I personally have a great dislike for a bit of software
> *DOESN'T BLOODY WELL MATTER*!  I just want particular technical
> information and I do not want to talk about i-installer *AT ALL*.  Got
> that?)
> For some reason, many people on this mailing list have asked me about
> this minor problem I suffered (and then put out of my mind and got on
> with something else) in the dim and distant past.
> All I've asked for myself is technical information to enable me to do
> certain jobs in setting up my new TeX installation.  You lot seem to
> want me to justify and explain absolutely everything before you're
> willing to offer basic technical assistance.  This, I do not understand.
> >(I would expect the same level of
> > clarity here that you are asking for regarding the details of the
> > texmf-issue)
> What?  Is this some kind of personal criticism of me, or what?
> Why not stop with the hassling and start with the useful technical
> input, eh?  This is after all supposed to be a technical mailing list,
> is it not?
> I'm getting pretty fed up with a lot of the responses I'm getting.  Drop
> the personal shit directed against me, eh?  I just want technical
> information.  Never you mind what I want to do with it: that's *MY*
> damned business, not yours.  My reasons are very straightforward, very
> clear, and I'm amazed that so many people have such difficulty
> understanding that it's much easier to manage your own additions when
> they're in a single, segregated directory tree.
> It is to my mind the obviously best way to do things and I'm astonished
> that it's not how MacTeX is set up as standard - it's the way that OzTeX
> 4 (amongst other versions) expected you to work, and it's the best way
> of doing it that I know of.
> So anyway, since MacTeX has what is to my mind this mis-feature of
> requiring local additions to be mixed up with all sorts of other stuff
> that might be deleted by i-installer or I don't know what else, it
> becomes not just a matter of convenience but critical importance that I
> protect my additions by segregating them - and that is what I shall do.
> >and nobody else seems to have witnessed similar
> > problems.
> That's no-one else that you've heard of - but so what?  I really do not
> get your point.  You don't know of any problems, therefore no problems
> exist?  Nah: that's insanity.  i-installer has big problems, and I
> really do not like it.
> > In case you decide to give it another try: good luck - and
> > maybe you will be surprised to find yourself among all those who do
> > not have any issues with iI at all (would be glad see that happen).
> [snip]
> The big problem is that the i-installer documentation does not explain
> what it does, exactly.  So I really cannot trust it because I do not
> know what it's going to do next due to inadequate documentation.  I will
> have to use i-installer as far as I can tell because it seems to be
> about the only way of updating a MacTeX installation.  But the way I'll
> use it is to make a full backup of my TeX installation *and* any data
> that i-installer has previously fetched before I use i-installer, every
> time I do so.
> <shrug>  What else?  Any other way of doing it is just plain stupid if
> you ask me, and I've got plenty of disc space now to make such a job
> very quick and easy (the Mac I'm using at the moment has three HDDs; the
> new one only has two, but they're bigger, and we'll be getting an
> external HDD in the next week or two - if I can find a suitable FW800
> enclosure.    I'd rather not wait for my computer, y'see.  Oh yeah, and
> there's the two internal DVD burners.).
> Why don't you try to give a rational explanation of why I shouldn't do
> it my way - so far, it's been `Well, this is standard and I don't know
> of any problems with it, so you should do it the same way as everyone
> else because copying everyone else is best'.  No it bloody well isn't! -
> it's why we're all using TeX on Macs, rather than MS Word under MS
> Windoze, innit?
> Or, better still, why not drop all this shit and just stick to the
> technical stuff?
> Rowland.
> (amazed at the personal comments and attacks he's been subjected to)
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