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

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at
Sun Aug 27 17:48:40 EDT 2006

On Aug 26, 2006, at 12:56 , Rowland McDonnell wrote:

> (I am very worried about i-installer overwriting my data - in my
> previous attempt to install and use a modern Mac TeX (before MacTeX  
> was
> put together; I tried using i-installer, and abandoned the attempt  
> after
> some weeks of trying to crack it), I did find that i-installer threw
> away several hundred megabytes of data I'd downloaded (mostly via my
> dialup line), which did make me pretty unhappy.  It's not safe  
> software
> to use if you ask me - I intend to do a full backup before I run
> i-installer, *every* time I run it.  I have the disc space to do so
> now.)

It is generally better for me to ignore messages/threads like this,  
but for the record I want to state that the TeX i-Package does not  
overwrite *any* data, except what is in /usr/local/teTeX (and even  
not everything there: unless you explicitely tell the TeX i-Package  
when uninstalling TeX, it will leave texmf.local alone), so if you  
want your data overwritten you will first personally have to move you  
stuff there.

The data the TeX i-Package overwrites/removes in /usr/local/teTeX it  
*has* to if you do not want to risk a nonfunctional mess of old and  
updated TeX when you update your i-Package and install it again  
(think about a renamed subdirectory, like 'dstroke' being renamed to  
'doublestroke' and you would install doublestroke but not remove  
dstroke, which file would be used by TeX? I am not able to tell you)

What i-Installer *can* remove or overwrite is if you thin or update  
your i-Package (in ~/Documents/i-Packages normally) and you *always*  
get a warning panel before any of that will happen. My guess is that  
this happened to you May last year, that you painstakingly downloaded  
the TeX i-Package over a slow link and it got updated on the  
reprository and you had to download it all over again when you  
accepted the upgrade.When you accepted the upgrade, it did not tell  
you that you had to download it all again. Which was bad luck, bcause  
those upgrades are not that often. TeX is huge, and if it changes the  
re-downloads are huge too. There is currently not much I can do about  

Having said that, it kind of irks me that this message (which could  
scare people without there being a good reason for them to be  
scared). None of what was removed/overwritten was your personal data  
(but only inside the TeX i-Package) nor was any of it destructive for  
your system or purpose. You just had to let i-Installer download the  
updated version.

> Since i-installer does blindly over-write things without warning -  
> well,
> of *course* it'll delete data you want to keep.

i-Installer does not blindly over-write anything without warning and  
since it is open source people could check. Rowland, please download  
the sources from SourceForge and tell me where it does so and I'll  
eat humble pie and thank you for helping me fix the program. Until  
then, it would be friendly to refrain from making these remarks.

As written above, the TeX i-Package (and other i-Packages) *have* to  
remove previous installs before installing a new one because the  
merger would be a (potential nonfunctional) mess.

For the rest, I advise people to read

as we are seeing the beginning of a repeat here and those that do not  
know the past are doomed to repeat it.


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