[OS X TeX] sharing texmf trees between OS X and linux

Siep Kroonenberg siepo at cybercomm.nl
Mon Mar 27 09:15:21 EST 2006

On Mon, Mar 27, 2006 at 09:48:36AM +0200, Thomas A. Schmitz wrote:
> I'm not sure if this is the right venue to ask this question, but  
> then, I have no clue what could be the right venue. I have a double- 
> boot system on my iBook, with a Fedora Core 5 system on 1 partition  
> and OS X 10.4.5 on the other. Since space is a bit scarce on this  
> rather old iBook, I was trying to share texmf-trees across the  
> different systems, and I run into a problem that I remember I was  
> experiencing before, on a gentoo system: I can mount the OS X  
> partitions in linux and read and write to them without a problem, so  
> I placed symlinks into the linux partition that point to the texmf- 
> trees in OS X. TeX, i.e., kpsewhich basically finds the files there  
> UNLESS the directories are nested too deeply. As an example, in  
> linux, I have a symlink ~/texmf which points to /mnt/osx/Users/tas/ 
> Library/texmf. kpsewhich will find ~/texmf/fonts/tfm/foo.tfm, but it  
> will not find ~/texmf/fonts/tfm/adobe/garamond/foo.tfm. Does anybody  
> have any experience with this? I have no idea if this is a problem  
> with kpsewhich or with the hfsplus drivers in linux.
> One piece of information may be relevant: in Fedora, TeX would at  
> first be set up to create ls-R files in HOMETEXMF as well. I looked  
> at the ls-R, and it contained, as far as I could see, all the  
> filenames. But whenever I called TeX, there was an error message that  
> "the ls-R database contains no useable entries" or something to that  
> effect.
> Any pointers would be appreciated. I receive the digests, so please  
> cc me when replying.
> Thanks, and best
> Thomas

You can set up environment variables in ~/.bash_profile which point
to the right directories. Under Linux, TeX assumes that HOMETEXMF is
$HOME/texmf, but if you give it an explicit value

'export HOMETEXMF=/somewhere/else'

then this new value overrides the builtin default. The latest TeX
Live uses TEXMFHOME instead of HOMETEXMF.

So you don't need symlinks, just environment variables.

A word of warning:
if your computer crashes under Linux while an hfs+ partition is
`dirty', then Linux won't be able to fix it; it has to be done by

Worse: apparently, Linux tests some flag which is not reset by
OSX after it has repaired things. At the time, the only recourse was
to backup, erase and restore the partition. But maybe this has been

Siep Kroonenberg
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