[OS X TeX] Leopard MacTeX PATH problems, still

David Watson dewatson at mac.com
Sat Mar 22 22:32:42 EDT 2008

Short story: any shell that uses /etc/csh.login, /etc/zprofile, or / 
etc/profile in its normal initiation process.

On Mar 22, 2008, at 8:02 PM, Herbert Schulz wrote:
> In Leopard the changes are an addition of the TeX file (containing / 
> usr/texbin) to /etc/paths.d/ which simply adds /usr/texbin to the  
> path (of any shell?).

The /etc/csh.login.system_default /etc/profile.system_default (and  
presumably /etc/zprofile.system_default if that file had been modified  
before the upgrade) contain short scripts which call the path helper  

The /usr/libexec/path_helper utility is itself a shell script that  
takes care of parsing /etc/paths.d/; one interesting thing to note is  
that any paths in the text file /etc/paths will get processed ahead of  
the remaining paths.
So if there is anything in that file that might cause trouble by  
coming first, then you must either chance editing (and remembering) / 
etc/paths, or else you must shortcut the default behavior by having  
your system-wide shell file NOT call path_helper, and then call it  
manually AFTER you have set the other paths first.

I'll let the manual page speak for itself:

path_helper(8)            BSD System Manager's Manual            

      path_helper -- helper for constructing PATH environment variable

      path_helper [-c | -s]

      The path_helper utility reads the contents of the files in the  
directories /etc/paths.d and
      /etc/manpaths.d and appends their contents to the PATH and  
MANPATH environment variables respectively.

      Files in these directories should contain one path element per  

      Prior to reading these directories, default PATH and MANPATH  
values are obtained from the files
      /etc/paths and /etc/manpaths respectively.


      -c      Generate C-shell commands on stdout.  This is the  
default if SHELL ends with "csh".

      -s      Generate Bourne shell commands on stdout.  This is the  
default if SHELL does not end with

      The path_helper utility should not be invoked directly.  It is  
intended only for use by the shell pro-

Mac OS X                        March 15, 2007                         
Mac OS X

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