[OS X TeX] PATH in Leopard
amorton at fastmail.fm
Fri Jan 4 08:41:06 EST 2008
>>> etc/paths and directory /etc/paths.d are described as the places
>>> where search path action takes place now.
>>> Does anybody know where important UNIX stuff like this is
>>> explained ?
>> This is not "important UNIX stuff", it is a little Apple-private
>> kludge, badly documented.
>> Here is what some other people think of it:
> The man page (another set of resources) does state:
> The path_helper utility should not be invoked directly. It is
> only for use by the shell profile."
> Your comment on the documentation is certainly accurate.
At first I wondered what the fuss was about: at last we have a
transparent way to add new paths to the default PATH in all shells
without clumsy and fragile /etc/profile hacks. But I've now seen some
more online discussion of this issue and see the difficulty. The
issue seems to be that path_helper would be OK if it behaved as the
man page says it's supposed to behave, but in some cases it doesn't.
According to a long thread on the X11-users list, it seems to be a bug
in the handling of inherited paths (where path_helper tries to avoid
duplication but doesn't always succeed).
Kludgy as the implementation may be, the concept is a good one: it
means that package-specific environment modifications can be kept
separate from each other in their own discrete files.
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