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

Victor Ivrii vivrii at
Sun Aug 27 09:22:41 EDT 2006

> *Please* do try to see if you can answer me.  Please.  I'm really just
> looking for documentation.  Honest.

Let me try to help you again:

% locate texmf.cnf

returns few files in the different locations. Which of them is valid?

(ps I suggest % man locate and update the database according to instruction)


tells that GW did not change


which is where it is normally located on UNIX machines but instead


GW explains: the former is overwritten. It gives you a clue why
creating non-standard tree is not a good idea: anytime installer
decides to overwrite texmf.cnf file (one or another) your non-standard
tree hangs in the air unless you restore old file or modify a new one.
The latter is a hassle, the former... well, if GW decides to create a
new tree, the restored file would be problematic. Definitely GW can
make mistakes, but when it happens plenty of people would notice it
instantly; when you do your mistake, you are on your own. What is
worse: teTeX is officially dead and I don't know and GW may be does
not know currently the structure of his future distribution and
everything non-standard becomes truly problematic.

Well, you are a brave person, so let's try. I am a coward and thus I
give you completely logical but not tested advice. Most of the people
here are cowards too, so nobody will tell you if it actually works:

You find


which tells you the order in which tex is looking for files. If in

this file is found then all other instances will be ignored; otherwise
tex looks at the next...

So you create say TEXMFRM and put it whenever you want in this
sequence with ,!! separator.
Do you want it to have the highest priority put it on the first place
but then you will possibly abuse users; so put on the second, follow
to look TEXMFGW and put in every sequence containing it

Now look at

% TEXMFGW contains GW specific defaults and additions
TEXMFGW = $SELFAUTOPARENT/share/texmf.gwtex

So duplicate it as

% TEXMFGW contains GW specific defaults and additions
TEXMFRM = $SELFAUTOPARENT/share/texmf.rmtex



and put your tree here

Again, I believe that this works. However I have not the slightest
idea what i-installer will do with this directory when you will use it
to update distribution. In this sense use texmf.local is much safer


Victor Ivrii, Department of Mathematics, University of Toronto
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