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

Rowland McDonnell rjmm-lists1 at
Sun Aug 27 07:23:39 EDT 2006

> El 27/08/2006, a las 1:15, Rowland McDonnell escribió:
> > What do you mean by `decreasing order of precedence'?  I want to
> > know which files are used, and I cannot work that out from what you
> > say.
> >
> > You might mean that the first instance is used - is that what you
> > mean?
> Yes, he certainly means that: it uses the *first* one it finds.  
> Actually, I guess as far as it finds one, it stops searching.

Gotcha - thank you.

> BTW, if you want another (ordinary) user's opinion: With ~/Library/ 
> texmf and /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local and given the way both  
> TeX and i-Installer deal with them, I can't see the need for an  
> additional tree. I failed to understand your reasons (perhaps I  
> missed some message at the start of the thread, perhaps they were too  
> technical for me).


I've not given my reasons in full detail - I don't think I can, but does
it matter?  Do I have really to justify myself to you all before this
mailing list will help me learn what I need to learn?

The short of it is this: I've got a large local directory tree of
assorted TeX additions that I've mostly written (or machine-generated)
myself over the last, erm, 18-odd years of LaTeX use (although I very
much hope that I don't use anything I wrote back in the 1980s for
anything except legacy documents).  I would much rather keep it at the
monolithic directory tree that I have been familiar with for a very long
time than split it into lots of little bits and tesselate it into a load
of other TeX stuff.

I find it much easier to manage things if I do it that way.  For
example, if I should wish to back up *my* additions, or strap the large
chunks of it into a completely different TeX installation (e.g., MikTeX
- which my wife uses at work), it's pretty easy.  If my additions are
spread throughout a directory tree containing the work of others, it's
much harder to keep a decent backup for one.  It goes on and on like
this - for the sake of my personal convenience, and never mind what
anyone else thinks about it, I need this parallel tree.

Since there's no trouble with giving the computer a tiny bit more work
to do, I'll use the method that gives me maximum convenience in
management.  <shrug>  The computer is supposed to be my hard working
slave - I shouldn't have to adapt to *it*.  And, well, when you've just
got a computer with four 2.5GHz 64 bit processors and 2.5GB RAM and
550GB (nominal) disc space[1] (not to mention two gigabit Ethernet ports
- wahey!  Decent local networking speed, at last!) you're not bothered
about giving it a tiny bit of extra work, are you?  I started out using
(that's using, not managing) LaTeX on 68k based Apollo workstations that
had no screen previewer.  In that case, you did want to use a
machine-efficient mode of working (it got really critical in the 1990s
when I was using OzTeX on my 68LC040 powered Performa 475), but these
days?  Pfft.  All the computers are ridiculously powerful, aren't they?
I can recall watching OzTeX 1.2's screen previwer drawing dvi files one
line at a time - that was on a Mac Classic, that was.  No such
frustrations these days, are there?


[1]  It's like this: neither me nor my wife wants a `trusted' computing
module in my computer (it'd just make it untrustworthy) - so we bought a
quad G5 on the last day that Apple sold 'em.
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