[OS X TeX] Where to put local additions to texmf?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Wed Jan 17 02:53:43 EST 2007

On Jan 17, 2007, at 00:14 , Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Until a few minutes ago I thought the recommended place for putting  
> system-wide local additions to the texmf trees was:
> - In gwTeX, /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.local, with the similar  
> directory /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.pkgs reserved for additions  
> managed by i-Installer (such as the CM-Super and TeX-Gyre i-Packages).
> - In TeXLive, /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local, with the similar  
> directory /usr/local/texlive/2007/texmf-var (say) reserved for  
> files (such as format files, and the config files updmap.cfg and  
> fmtutil.cnf) built locally by the various TeX-related tools.
> Alas, after reading /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXDist- 
> description.rtf (and not understanding much, I must admit, given  
> the highly technical content), I'm starting to think I was wrong.  
> Based on the extract:
>> - A TexmfLocal symbolic link. The TexmfLocal directory is where  
>> local additions are kept that are normally independent from the  
>> distribution version. On a pre-2006 gwTeX this is ../Root/share/ 
>> texmf.local, on TeX Live the default for this is ../Root/../texmf- 
>> local and on a current gwTeX this is ../Root/texmf.pkgs
>> - A TexmfSysVar symbolic link. The TexmfSysVar directory is where  
>> distribution-dependent files are kept, amongst which the results  
>> of the updmap, fmtutil, texconfig, etc. commands as well as the  
>> compiled formats. On a pre-2006 gwTeX this is ../Root/share/ 
>> texmf.local, on TeX Live this is ../Root/texmf-var and on a  
>> current gwTeX this is ../Root/texmf.local (note that gwTeX and TeX  
>> Live both did split the texmf-local tree, but that they both use  
>> texmf-local for a different part of the split. The abstraction  
>> offered here (TexmfSysVar and TexmfLocal) hides that distinction.
> and on the belief that TexmfLocal is were local additions should  
> go, I am under the impression that these additions should go to / 
> usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.pkgs for gwteX and /usr/local/texlive/texmf- 
> local for TeXLive.


> On the other hand, based on the criterion that the local additions  
> should go to the one place that is in no case erased or overwritten  
> by either installer package (the TeX i-Package, or the TeXLive-200*  
> MacTeX package), then one is back to /usr/local/gwTeX/texmf.local  
> for gwTeX, and /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local for MacTeX.

texmf.pkgs is not overwritten when the gwTeX i-Package is  
reinstalled. This is how a reinstall will pick up an already  
installed ConTeXt updater for instance. Some i-Packages wil install  
in texmf.pkgs and these try to take care not to remove anything which  
is not their own, but if you add stuff to directories inside what has  
been installed by an i-Package in texmf.pkgs, there is no certainty  
that it will survive.

The only realy certain solution is the Rowland solution: have an  
extra tree that is both system-wide and not maintained by anyone but  


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