[OS X TeX] Building new formats (MacTeX)

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Sun Sep 17 19:16:59 EDT 2006

On 17-sep-2006, at 22:23, Rowland McDonnell wrote:

>> Hi Rowland,
>> Instead of trying to answer your mail in between, I'm going to top-
>> post (boo!), and answer what I think is your question.
> Fine by me - if it results in a nice clear explanation of something  
> that
> helps me understand something, I'll lap it up.
> Thank you for putting the time in to try to help clear things up.
>> If I answer
>> the wrong question, please be as exact as you possibly can in asking
>> a follow on question.
> I've tried to do that.
>> So what do I think your question is? How do I customise my TeX
>> install to include the UK hyphenation patterns?
> Not quite: what I'm trying to do is customize my TeX installation so
> that I get UK hyphenation /by default/ in all documents, while  
> deviating
> from standard practice as little as possible.
> I suspect the sensible way to do this is build my new formats without
> Babel being involved at all, and use my existing hyphen.cfg file.
> \language=0 US English, \language=1 UK English, \language=1 is what  
> you
> get for typesetting by default.

*Warning* there is a way of getting UK English to be the default, and  
it is hinted at below: make sure that language 0 _is_ UK Enlish. The  
fixed names will not change (if there is infact a difference for  
certain sections (table of contents, etc). Oh, here is the warning  
bit: this breaks with the configuration everyone else uses.

>> Since I normally use
>> i-Installer to install and customise my tex, I had to do quite a bit
>> of digging to answer this without the short but for some reason
>> unacceptable (to you anyway) "Just run the i-Installer configure
>> stage".
> <puzzled>  `For some reason'?  If you've got as far as understanding
> that I don't want to use i-installer, surely you've got as far as
> understanding the reasons?

I don't thnk it is a valid reason, with the caveat inserted below.

> The short reason is:
> I cannot control i-installer.  Specifically, I do not have the ability
> to use i-installer to configure TeX to do what I want.

After thinking a bit longer: you're right in that respect as far as  
plain TeX is concerned.

> I do not have the ability to learn what I need to learn about how
> i-installer works, so I have to find out how to do the job some other
> way.
> [I'm not going to use some software that does what i-installer does:
> make large changes to the data on my computer without me having the
> faintest idea what it's doing.
> Isn't that normal prudent computer management?]

<<puzzled: and you use the MacTeX installer?>>

>> The answer it seems comes in two stages: fmtutil and its
>> configuration, and the language configuration files for the various
>> formats. Yes, careful digging reveals that there is more than one,
>> and they are not all called "language.dat"
>> So, one step at a time: fmtutil will take the appropriate actions for
>> you to build a format.
> Do you know how I can find out what it does?  I'm a Mac user, not a  
> Unix
> expert of any sort.  I need to know what steps are followed so that I
> understand what's going on.  I might not be a Unix expert, but I  
> *am* a
> bit of a TeXnician.

try running the fmtutil command on a single format:
sudo -H -u root fmtutil --byfmt pdflatex

The first line of output lists the command used to create the format:
pdfetex -ini   -jobname=pdflatex -progname=pdflatex -translate- 
file=cp227.tcx *pdflatex.ini

>> I would advise against doing it manually, even
>> though pdfetex -ini and some other parameter calls is certainly
>> possible.
> I read the documentation, which does talk about using iniTeX and  
> doesn't
> mention fmtutil in any obvious places, so I decided to take the route
> that the documentation suggested.

initex is pretty much the old name (it used to be a different  
program, back when computers suffered from a shortage of memory.  
These days tex as D.E. Knuth wrote it is only used for (plain) tex.  
All others use pdfetex as the engine. This is true on all platforms.  
The calling sequence on web2c is moving slowly towards std unix, with  
many more argument than tex ever had.

> fmtutil does look like a better idea - but how can I learn about it?

fmtutil is part of tetex and texlive. It is also the tool that is  
used when installing tex on your machine (both MacTeX and i- 
Installer). However, I don't know of documentation. As I wrote above,  
the command it executes is listed above (at least for pdflatex).  
Perhaps this is enough to get Google going?

>> TeTeX however includes some management utilities to make
>> life easier, just use them.
> This is very easy to say, but it's very hard to do in practice - what
> `management tools' does teTeX come with?  How does one use them?   
> There
> is no documentation to explain that I can find, so I must say that  
> these
> tools are certainly not included with teTeX for the convenience of the
> ordinary Mac user who wishes to look after a MacTeX installation -
> perhaps they are there for the convenience of established expert Unix
> sysadmins?

The latter, mostly. But there are three tools worth knowing about:  
updmap, fmtutil, and texconfig. Documentation: if you screw up, you  
can always reinstall MacTeX and start over. Make sure you keep  
detailed notes.

> These `management tools' (I've come across things like updmap,  
> fmtutil,
> and a couple of others) are barely mentioned in any documentation, let
> alone adequately documented

I agree that some documentation seems to be missing in action, OTOH,  
I think that you either are too afraid to try, or need documentation  
that is beyond the level required by people who tinker with this kind  
of stuff.

> - but since they're more widely used than
> i-installer, I'm taking the line that I might be able to find out  
> how to
> use some of them (if only because <news://comp.text.tex> is less  
> hostile
> than this mailing list).

_Less_ hostile? It depends on the initial tone I guess.

>> OK fmtutil. This tool is a shell script, so in principle, one can
>> figure out what it does.
> I'm a Mac user, and no sort of Unix expert.  You might as well tell me
> to read the Rosetta stone as read the source code.

The principle in my text was indeed meant as you interpretation. I  
just want to leave a paper-trail on how I figured this out.

>> There is an --edit option to the tool, that
>> you can use to edit the file,
> How does the --edit option work?

Depending on the permissions: fmtutil --edit

>> however, there are some permissions
>> checks on that, and for me this doesn't work.
> Er?

I'm running as a non-admin user, but I doubt that fmtutil will be  
able to contact say BBEdit, because it is wriiten with a unix  
background (and vi) in mind.

>> Luckily, the default
>> name for the configuration file can be found in the script:
>> "fmtutil.cnf",
> You seem to be suggesting that the best way to learn about this  
> sort of
> thing *is* to read the source code - is that what I'm expected to do
> myself, to learn about this sort of stuff?

No, well, yes. At least that is the paper trail I left behind.  
Another option is to look in the web2c directory in the texmf-tree,  
and note that there is a fmtutil.cnf file, a updmap.cnf file, and  
various other config files.

>> and kpsewhich can be used to find which one is used:
> `kpsewhich' returns only:
> Missing argument. Try `kpsewhich --help' for more information.

kpsewhich filename, i.e. kpsewhich fmtutil.cnf Do I really have to  
spell out every detail?

>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/web2c/fmtutil.cnf.
> Which command line incantation did you use to get that answer?
> kpsewhich <options> fmtutil.cnf
> is what you used, correct?  Which options, and why?

No options at all. Try! The worst that can happen is that you get an  
error message. No, don't try the "rm" command so liberally, but these  
tools are fairly robust.

>> There are some notes at the top of the file, and I copied an example:
>> # The format of the table is:
>> # format  engine      pattern-file    arguments
>> # The last part of "arguments" must be the name of the file to run
>> # initex (or another "ini"-engine) on.
>> pdflatex  pdfetex     language.dat    -translate-file=cp227.tcx
>> *pdflatex.ini
>> so the pdflatex format uses the pdfetex engine, uses langage.dat for
>> the language configuration, and needs some codepage translation. The
>> macros themselves are loaded from pdflatex.ini.
> Okay - I've not come across these *.ini files before.  I've read the
> teTeX manual, and it doesn't mention them.

The ini files are actually the core tex files. they can be found with  
kpsewhich pdflatex.ini

and the contents of that file is:
% Thomas Esser, 1998. public domain.
\input pdftexconfig.tex
\input latex.ltx

> Can you suggest where I can look to find out about these files and how
> they fit in to the system of TeX (ini/La/pdf/whatnot) that I know  
> about?

They give the init command for the specific format, basically the  
dump command: tex -ini '\input plain \dump' for plain, or pdfetex - 
ini '\input pdftexconfig.tex\input latex.ltx' (the last command in  
latex.ltx is \dump).

> Having read `latex.ini', I worked out that when you wrote the  
> following
> (which caused me a good deal of bother when I read it because I had no
> idea what you were referring to):
> `The macros themselves are loaded from pdflatex.ini.'
> you meant that the file pdflatex.ini is the file which loads the LaTeX
> macros to build the format, using \input latex.ltx.

Yes, see above.

>> The fmtutil loops
>> over all formats that are not commented out, and uses these
>> parameters to create the format in the right location.
> What is fmtutil's idea of `the right location', and how do I find out
> what it is?

see below.

>> So, for formats where there is a format and a language file listed
>> here, it is as easy as finding the pattern descriptions file (mostly
>> language.dat, sometimes it is something else), and ask which one to
>> use with:
>> kpsewhich -progname="engine" pattern-file
>> where engine and pattern-file refer to the table columns given above.
> Okay.  Which engine does one use as -progname?  It seems to me that
> since iniTeX is used to build all formats, there's only one  
> language.dat
> file used, and that's the one that applies to iniTeX in all  
> instances of
> format building.

No. initex does not exist. I repeat: initex is dead. The full command  
as used by fmtutil to build the latex format is
     pdfetex -ini   -jobname=pdflatex -progname=pdflatex -translate- 
file=cp227.tcx *pdflatex.ini

That is: the engine name is passed to the pdfetex -ini as the progname.

> But that's just a logical interpretation of the way the system appears
> to work from what I've been able to infer from the very limited amount
> of information I've been able to find out - one seems to be  
> expected to
> work it all out as `logical inferences' from a few hints, and I can't.

The actual command as issued by fmtutil should help, I hope.

>> I seem to recall you wanted babel in plain tex as well. On Mac OS X I
>> assume this to mean that you want babel support in pdftex.
> I don't /need/ it - it's just that what I read indicated that
> `everything' seemed to be using Babel, so I thought I investigate  
> using
> `doing it the standard way' for a change instead of just `rolling my
> own' as I've done in the past.
> Now I've spent some time trying to find out how to get Babel to do  
> what
> I want, I am reminded of why I've always `rolled my own': it's so  
> damned
> hard to find out enough about quite a lot of the standard methods  
> to do
> anything with 'em.
> Writing your own solution might produce something less optimal in an
> abstract, theoretical sense, but at least you know what it does and  
> can
> get it to do what you want, more or less.  This makes it a far more  
> fit
> for purpose than the standard methods, which `just don't work' due  
> to my
> inability to learn how to use 'em.

The hard bit of babel with plain is that standard palin does not  
include support any language _but_ US English.
>> This is a
>> bit more tricky, as the following fragment shows. Well, at least the
>> instructions are there…
>> # Change "tex.ini -> bplain.ini" and "- -> language.dat"
>> # if you want babel support in tex. Add -translate-file=cp227.tcx
>> before tex.ini
>> # if you want to make all characters directly "printable" for
>> # any \write (instead of ^^xy).
> `if you want to make all characters directly "printable" for
> any \write (instead of ^^xy).'
> Erm.  Do I want that?  What does it mean?

Yes, you want that. It concerns the \typeout macro, and you don't  
want hte double escape control characters.

>> So to add babel to tex and pdftex, change the tex, resp. pdftex
>> format lines to:
>> tex   tex language.dat    -translate-file=cp227.tcx bplain.ini
>> pdftex    pdfetex language.dat    -translate-file=cp227.tcx  
>> bplain.ini
>> I hope that takes care of the format creation.
> Well, not really, but it's a start - at least you've pointed me in the
> right direction by letting me know that I need to learn about fmtutil
> and related issues.  I don't know how I'm going to do that learning  
> yet
> - let's see if I can learn enough to proceed with that method, eh? ;-)
>> Now on to he language definition files. This can be slightly
>> different, depending on the exact flavour of the tex format itself. I
>> won't go into Context here, partly because I don't know the finer
>> details, partly because I didn't see you mention it.
>> The formats you seem to be using are plain tex and latex.
> At the moment, I mostly use LaTeX with occasional Plain TeX.  I'd like
> to look at ConTeXt one day, when I've got everything else working,  
> and I
> might well look at other formats.  But I've got to get things set  
> up and
> working first.
>> They both
>> use language.dat (at least after the changes listed above), which
>> shortens the discussion. You'll want to have the language.dat file in
>> the texmf.local tree.
> No, I want to have my language.dat file(s?) somewhere else.

It is a single file, no s.

> I want them in my local texmf tree, not texmf.local where they're  
> likely
> to be over-written by something automatic in the future.

Someone else may try to add that. I would suggest to keep a backup of  
texmf.local, since that is the easiest to configure for this type of  
files. For your own personal stuff I would recommend to use /Users/ 
YourName/Library/texmf/... However, for the config files during  
format creation, an language.dat is one of them, this will not work,  
since that part is done under sudo. a backup of the config is a  

>> Copy the language.dat file given by kpsewhich
>> to /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>> and open it in your text editor. If you want to deal with other
>> formats, please copy the appropriate language files into the local
>> tree before editing as well. First of all it gives you a backup, and
>> secondly it will prevent i-Installer to trample all over your
>> changes, should you decide later on to use it anyway.
>> For UK English, we find in that file: %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 
>> %%%
>> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
>> % UK english, TWO LINES! To enable these lines, remove %! and the
> space.
>> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 
>> %%%
>> %%%%%
>> %! british    ukhyphen.tex % unavailable in teTeX due to license
> problem!
>> %! =UKenglish
>> The license problem has been commented upon before. This defines the
>> (babel) name british and loads the patterns given in ukhyphen.tex
>> under that label. The second line defines the name UKenglish to be
>> the same as british. All you need to do here is follow the
>> instructions: remove '%! ' at the start of the two lines.
> Yes - that bit's easy enough.
>> There is another bit of instruction in the file: %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 
>> %%%
>> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
>> % CAUTION: the first language will be the default if no style-file
>> %          (e.g. german.sty) is used.
>> % Since version 3.0 of TeX, hyphenation patterns for multiple
>> languages are
>> % possible. Unless you know what you are doing, please let the
> american
>> % english patterns be the first ones. The babel system allows you to
>> % easily change the active language for your texts. For more
>> information,
>> % have a look to the documentation in texmf/doc/generic/babel.
>> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% 
>> %%%
>> %%%%%
>> Please follow this advise, and use the babel package to explicitly
>> activate the UK english hyphenation patterns.
> That text you quote does not appear in the language.dat files that  
> came
> with MacTeX that I'm looking at.
> And I'm not sure what you're advising me to do.  You refer to using  
> the
> Babel package to activate the UK English hyphenation patterns.  Okay,
> but in what way?  I want to use the Babel package at format-building
> time to set up LaTeX so that it defaults to UK English hyphenation,  
> but
> with all other hyphenations usually available, also available and `set
> up pretty much as normal'.

Ai, that is not easy: latex.ltx includes \dump as the last command,  
and as such it is hard to build a format that adds to the latex.ltx  
format. For plain you might be able to do so, but instruction on how  
to use babel in plain are needed first.

> Are you saying that I would be committing some kind of LaTeX sin by
> setting up Babel to give me UK English hyphenation patterns as the
> default?  What I'd like to do is have US English as language 0 (as is
> standard), with UK English as `A.N. Other' language number, and the
> language number for UK English being the default.  This maximises my
> personal convenience: I want my computer to speak my language by
> default.

No, what I'm saying is that it is hard to build a custom LaTeX  
format, because of the somewhat impractical \dump command within  
latex.ltx. Loading multiple languages in plain tex is (by some)  
considered to ne a mortal sin, or a violation of D.E.K.'s license to  
TeX if you still call it TeX. But, hey, it is your system anyway. The  
dirty trick would be to make UK English the same as language 0. Since  
babel refers to the language by name anyway, it should hurt only a  
bit, but for LaTeX I maintain that selecting the language at document  
compile time is the more practical soultion.

> That's my current setup - done with this hyphen.cfg file for LaTeX:
> =============================================================
> \language=0% Make bloody sure that the language is set right.
> %
> \InputIfFileExists{hyphen.tex}%
>    {\message{Loading hyphenation patterns for US english.}%
>     \language=0
>     \lefthyphenmin=2 \righthyphenmin=3 }%
>    {\errhelp{The configuration for hyphenation is incorrectly
>              installed.^^J%
>              If you don't understand this error message you need
>              to seek^^Jexpert advice.}%
>     \errmessage{OOPS! I can't find any hyphenation patterns for
>                 US english.^^J \space Think of getting some or the
>                 latex2e setup will never succeed}\@@end}
> %
> %
> %
> \language=1% Make bloody sure that the language is right.
> \InputIfFileExists{ukhyphen.tex}%
>    {\message{Loading hyphenation patterns for UK English.}%
>     \language=1
>     \lefthyphenmin=2 \righthyphenmin=3 }%
>    {\errhelp{The configuration for hyphenation is incorrectly
>              installed.^^J%
>              If you don't understand this error message you need
>              to seek^^Jexpert advice.}%
>     \errmessage{OOPS! I can't find any hyphenation patterns for
>                 UK english.^^J \space Something is wrong.}\@@end}
> %
> %
> %
> \language=1
> \message{UK hyphenation patterns installed as language 1; US  
> hyphenation
> as language 0.  Default language set to 1.}
> \endinput
> =============================================================
> Would I be better off removing Babel and sticking with this?

How and when is this loaded?

>> Enable all other languages you care to use, and save the file.
>> Now run sudo -H -u root fmtutil-sys --all to re-create the format,
>> with the configuration you just specified. The sudo is needed for the
>> permissions, the -H -u root options for sudo set the username and
>> home directory to the actual root user so that files in your ~/
>> Library/texmf directory are not found. the rest is the actual command
>> itself.
> Righto.
>> I hope this clears thing up for you. As to the other implied
>> question: how do you figure this out?
> That's what I'd really like to learn.
>> Some experience with the
>> cryptic output of --help, -? and -h of the various tools helps. A
>> constant reminder that man pages list only what you need to know, and
>> not a comma extra, and some experience with maintaining a Linux
>> system at work.
> Man pages contain much less than I need to know.  I know this because
> most man pages don't make much sense to me at all.  I don't have any
> experience with the tools, or with running any sort of Unix  
> system.  I'm
> a Mac user coming to this cold, with no experience of anything  
> relevant.
> Man pages tell you what you need to know if you are a Unix expert -  
> but
> only if you are a Unix expert.  It seems to me that they man pages are
> in general useless unless you already know about whatever the man page
> is explaining.
> It seems that my suspicion was right: one /does/ have to be a Unix
> sysadmin to learn how to set up and maintain a modern Mac TeX
> distribution.  :-/  Ho hum.  I was hoping to avoid learning all that
> Unix stuff.

Mac OS X in a Nutshell, by O'Reilly. But perhaps others who are  
closer to your position on the learning curve can comment on this  
recommendation. I agree taht most unix man pages contain the absolute  
minimum to use a command. To figure out which command to use is a  
_bit_ harder.

>> There are two files in most text distributions (well, unix-
>> distributions anyway) that control everything: texmf.cnf and
>> fmtutil.cnf.
> Except, of course, that there are multiple files called texmf.cnf and
> fmtutil.cnf, aren't there?  So the number is higher than two, and
> confusion reigns as a result.

There is a hierarchy in the texmf.cnf files, with each level adding  
bits, that is at least my understanding.

>> Some starting text can be found in /usr/local/teTeX/
>> share/texmf.gwtex/README.howtexfindsfiles.txt, with quite a few
>> details in the comments in both texmf.cnf and fmtutil.cnf
> Righto - so one has to ferret around the documentation, find things  
> out,
> and generally work like a flippin' detective to discover basic
> information about using and configuring the software?  Oh joy.
>> Oh, and
>> some experience with programming helps: this system was developed by
>> programmers, and as you have figured out by now: user friendliness
>> wasn't at the top of their list of priorities.
> Given that I have no experience programming modern computers, and have
> been using Macs exclusively - computers noted for user-friendliness -
> since about 1994 - I'm a bit stuffed, aren't I?
> [Some decent documentation clearly needs to be written.  What's the
> point of writing software without paying attention to usability?
> Programmers shouldn't be let out on their own, that's what I reckon.
> Ho hum.]
> Thanks for your help.  It's just going to be horribly slow and painful
> for me to learn, isn't it?
> Cheers!
> Rowland
>> Regards,
>> Maarten
>> PS, I've added some minor remarks without explanation below.
> Thank you.
>> Right
>> near the end there is a question on how MacTeX deals with a pre-
>> existing texmf.local tree when updating: is it overwritten or not?
> I haven't a clue.  It seems that MacTeX is meant to be updated by  
> using
> i-installer.   I infer that since MacTeX installs i-installer.   
> There is
> no information supplied with MacTeX that I can see which explains how
> one is meant to update any part of it.
> I was intending to upgrade MacTeX manually, since I could see no other
> method of updating it with any sort of idea what was going to be
> modified.  Since texmf.local is filled with stuff when you install
> MacTeX, it's reasonable to assume that any updating will modify that
> directory, so system-wide local additions must be kept somewhere else.
> MacTeX has no provision for such additions, so I had to roll my own
> solution (with help off-list from Gerben Wierda).
>> On 15-sep-2006, at 22:32, Rowland McDonnell wrote:
>>> According to a note in the language.dat file, ukhyphen.tex is
>>> unavailable in teTeX due to licensing problems.  I'd guess the same
>>> applies to other distributions - are you sure UKEnglish is included
>>> with TeXLive?
>> Yes, in gwtex. Thomas Esser and Gerben Wierda have slightly different
>> opinions on what can or can't be included.
> Righto.
>> Otherwise you probably can
>> obtain it from CTAN: http://www.ctan.org/search.html
> I've had the file for years, which should be obvious since I've been
> saying I want to get my new TeX set up to work like the old TeX.   
> Access
> to the file ukhyphen.tex is not really an issue.
>>>>> 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.
>>> Okay - I've printed out the `find' man page and learnt how to do
>>> this (details on how to do so at the end of this email).  But how
>>> can I tell which file is used for which format?
>> The one returned by kpsewhich, since that is the same routine used by
>> tex itself.
> `kpsewhich' returns:
> Missing argument. Try `kpsewhich --help' for more information.
> It turns out that to use kpsewhich in an intelligent fashion, you need
> to learn a lot about what it is that you're looking for.  I've not yet
> learnt that, so I cannot find out how to find out which language.dat
> file gets used by what for what.
> I do know that:
> Hattie:teTeX rowland$ kpsewhich language.dat
> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
> and
> Hattie:teTeX rowland$ find . -name "language.dat"
> ./share/texmf.gwtex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/lambda/config/language.dat
> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/platex/config/language.dat
> which doesn't help me much.  What gets used for what, and when, and  
> why?
> I don't know and can't find out yet.

The texmf directories are searched in order, until a match is found:
     /Users/YourName/Library/texmf, texmf.local, texmf.gwtex,  
That means that only the first one listed is of importance for  
building formats. With the progname argument given above, the exact  
match by the routines as used by TeX can be made.

> You need to understand teTeX thoroughly to use kpsewhich, and I don't.
> I suspect the only people who can use kpsewhich properly are those
> capable of identifying the file they're after manually.
>>> At some point, iniTeX will run, and I need to make sure it'll read
>>> the appropriate file when it runs - for every format I'm
>>> rebuilding. Finding language.dat files isn't the problem: the
>>> problem is making sure that the one I want to be read, is the one
>>> that's read.
>> Sorry, I was barking up the wrong tree, I hope the discussion of
>> fmtutil above did in fact help.
> Not a lot, but at least I now know what I need to find out about.
>>>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>>>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.gwtex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>>>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>>>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/lambda/config/language.dat
>>>> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/tex/platex/config/language.dat
>>>> The first one shadows the next two for all tex formats, except
>>>> lambda and platex.
>>> I don't understand what you mean by this.  Could you tell me where
>>> it's explained in the documentation (if anywhere)?
>> The howtexfindsfiles mentioned above, plus comments in texmf.cnf. Or
>> the output of kpsewhich, which is the routine actually used by tex &
>> friends.
> I see.  Well, I've read all those, and I don't understand what you
> wrote.  I'll just keep at it.  I might crack the code one day.  If
> that's the only documentation that's available, I think it's quite
> reasonable for me to be as baffled as I am.
>>>> So it seems that in practice, you can just limit yourself
>>>> to the first one.
>>> What I actually get is this:
>>> Hattie:teTeX rowland$ find . -name "language.dat"
>>> ./share/texmf.gwtex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>>> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/generic/config/language.dat
>>> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/lambda/config/language.dat
>>> ./share/texmf.tetex/tex/platex/config/language.dat
>>> [snip]
>>> [Gerben Wierda says elsewhere:}
>>>> The first one probably does not exists on a pristine install of
>>>> MacTeX. The second one does, but it should be copied to the
>>>> location of the first one before being edited or it will be
>>>> overwritten on a next install.
>>> [end Gerben Wierda]
>>> What I'd like to do is have a single local language.dat file that is
>>> always read when I run iniTeX to rebuild all formats.
>> See discussion of fmtutil.cnf
> I have done.  Doesn't help much.
>>> (and some sort of babel config file - damned if I can find any info
>>> on how to set up Babel to give me a default language other than US
>>> English)
>> Babel is not part of the ...TeX format, so there is no default there.
>> Load the package with \usepackage[english]{babel} and in latex you'll
>> get the right patterns.
> That is not what I want to do.  In any event, surely with  
> `english', I'd
> get US English?

No, since I assume you'll put the =english line right after what you  
consider to the proper English.
For certainty (and an error in case the uk patterns weren't loaded),  
you can use british instead.

>> For pdftex (plain), you'll need to \input
>> some file, and \def some things, but I'm at a loss here. However, at
>> least I now know how to includekpsewhich the languages in the first
>> place.
> Righto - well, I'd got the idea that `things had been set up so that
> Plain TeX used Babel as a semi-routine matter', but it seems not.  I
> might as well stick with my methods than use Babel for Plain TeX.

Babel is written to be usable under plain, so it is certainly  
possible, a bit of Google will revlea stuff. However, when I tried  
this the last time, I failed to notice that the patterns weren't  
loaded at all, and then babel really will not work.

> [snip]
>>>> The choice of the name 'format' in this context is a bit
>>>> unfortunate: you want the -programme argument, not the -format
>>>> argument.
>>> If I knew why you were explaining this, I might be able to follow
>>> you better.
>>> Could you explain why you are telling me that there are `-
>>> programme' and `-format' options?
>>> I'm completely baffled by this.  Ah!  No, having read my original
>>> email on the subject, I am now less baffled.   Perhaps you could
>>> [snip] less of the original text?
>> I'd rather not, you can always read your original message, but
>> snipping too little makes for rather tedious reading, and makes it a
>> lot harder to follow the line of my explanation.
> You are wrong: the fact is that the excessive snipping you did made it
> impossible for me to follow the line of your explanation, until I
> thought to re-read my original message (and just finding that message
> took time - I don't have a threading email client).
> The point is that you snip too much, and by doing so, you make it much
> harder to follow the thread of your explanation.
> It was this excessive snipping that made it hard to understand what  
> you
> were saying, which is why I asked you to snip less.
> Of course I can always read my original message, but the point of  
> having
> quoted text in a reply is so that I don't have to, to make it  
> easier for
> me to follow what you have to say.
> [snip]
>>> I need to find out how to replace all the format files used for
>>> Plain TeXing and LaTeXing with the machete distribution, and do so
>>> using my local language.dat (and perhaps other config) files.
>>>> The format of the language.dat file is documented in the file
>>>> itself
>>> There is no explanation of the format of the file that I can see -
>>> not an inadequate explanation: absolutely no explanation of any
>>> sort.
>> No, not for the format. Because I hardly ever do this by hand, I'm
>> stumbling as I go along. That is the reason this message is somewhat
>> delayed:
> I don't see the time it took to arrive as `delayed' - any large  
> lump of
> text takes time to write, and - well <shrug> you're offering free help
> to a stranger.  It's welcome, whenever it arrives.
>> I had a simple and wrong answer ready yesterday, when I
>> decided to dive deeper into fmtutil.
> Righto.
>>>> (the languages are all there, but with most commented out, so
>>>> there is no need to figure out what a language should be called).
>>> It's not the modifying of the file that's the problem, but working
>>> out where to put my copy of the modified file so that it's 1) used
>>> and 2) not overwritten; then I need to work out how to re-build all
>>> the formats.
>> 1) use kpsewhich with the engine and file-name for see if the file
>> you had in mind is indeed found.
> Yes, but I don't understand exactly what `engine' means in this  
> context
> - which engine needs specifying for any given search, and why?  I  
> don't
> have much information about this, so I mostly can't use kpsewhich.

The arguments to the -ini call as used by fmtutil and by kpsewhich  
are the same. Does that help?

>> 2) copy that file to reside within the texmf.local tree, and try (1)
>> again to see if it is found instead.
> Very bad idea - texmf.local is full of `other peoples' stuff' when you
> install MacTeX.
> In my case, I'll copy to within /Users/Shared/texmf.rjmm/ in my case.

Please keep notes on how you added that tree to the search path,  
because that bit of the configuration is way more fragile than a  
backup of texmf.local.
>> Now, depending on how exactly you are going to update your tex: i-
>> Installer will leave texmf.local alone. I don't know about MacTeX,
>> perhaps someone else can comment on this.
> I can't find anything at all to suggest how one might do updates using
> MacTeX.  I'm going to worry about that later.
>> You may want to copy your
>> fmtutil.cnf into the texmf.local tree as well.
> Definitely not, for the reasons I give above.
>> With the commands I
>> gave it is not possible to store the configuration the your home
>> directory.
> Why not?  Not that that's how I'm going to do things.

When you run fmtutil, or pdfetex -ini, you run as a super user, not  
yourself. This means that TeX will not find the configurations files  
at all, and will still use the default files.

>>> You say that using the fmutil command is the right thing to do - is
>>> there anything to explain what I can expect to see happen if I use
>>> it as directed on a default MacTeX installation?  The fmtutil man
>>> page is an unusually terse piece of work, and I can find no other
>>> documentation for fmtutil.
>> See above, with some explanation on how I figured this out myself
> Righto.  I'll have to look elsewhere for information, I suppose.
> Cheers!
> Rowland.
> ------------------------- Info --------------------------
> Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
>           & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
> TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
> List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/

Ever drifting in the stream Lingering in the golden gleam Life, What  
is it but a dream?

------------------------- Info --------------------------
Mac-TeX Website: http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/
          & FAQ: http://latex.yauh.de/faq/
TeX FAQ: http://www.tex.ac.uk/faq
List Archive: http://tug.org/pipermail/macostex-archives/

More information about the MacOSX-TeX mailing list