[OS X TeX] Building new formats (MacTeX)

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Wed Sep 13 04:21:13 EDT 2006

On 13-sep-2006, at 1:58, Rowland McDonnell wrote:

> So I've got a TeX installation that I can use to pdfLaTeX documents.
> But I'm still using the supplied formats, which have a lot of built-in
> hyphenation patterns but not the one I need (UK English).

The default TeXLive install come with pretty much everything enabled.
Would that be an option for future MacTeX installs?

> I was thinking about modifying the Babel setup so that I could have  
> the
> existing languages plus the one I need, with the one I need set up as
> the default.
> I see that to do this, I need to edit the appropriate language.dat  
> file.

a simple find command in the terminal gives that these are all  
language .dat files in the texmf trees.


The first one shadows the next two for all tex formats, except lambda  
and platex.
So it seems that in practice, you can just limit yourself to the  
first one.

> I've no idea where to start looking - can anyone help me find out  
> how to
> invoke kpsewhich for this job?

kpsewhich -help gives basic (somewhat cryptic) help. from that:

-progname=NAME : set the program name to NAME (latex, pdftex, lambda, …)
-format=NAME : the file format to search for (or to limit the result  

The choice of the name 'format' in this context is a bit unfortunate:  
you want the
-progname argument, not the -format argument.

kpsewhich language.dat -progname=pdflatex
gives the language settings file for pdflatex.

Since most formats use the same file, I would advise to use
sudo -H fmtutil-sys --all
to recompile all formats at once. This will probably prevent some
surprises later on.

The format of the language.dat file is documented in the file itself  
(the languages are all there,
but with most commented out, so there is no need to figure out what a  
language should be called).


The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing  
that cannot possibly
go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes  
wrong  it usually turns out
to be impossible to get at or repair.

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