[OS X TeX] personal package : following 2

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Sat Dec 25 10:20:57 EST 2010

On Dec 25, 2010, at 9:46 AM, Herbert Schulz wrote:

> On Dec 23, 2010, at 7:58 PM, Claus Gerhardt wrote:
>> What would be achieved, if the texmf folder and a subtree would be  
>> installed. Those we are concerned about wouldn't know that it  
>> exists, and, even they did, they still wouldn't know where to place  
>> personal sty files, etc., and all these questions, which could  
>> easily be answered by reading the "What is installed" file or  
>> simply by googling, would still be asked.
>> Since these questions have already be answered sufficiently and in  
>> great detail over and over again, we should pick one default link  
>> where the answer can be found and whenever the question is asked  
>> again simply provide the link without any further explanation.
>> Claus
>> On Dec 23, 2010, at 20:18, Alan Munn wrote:
>>> Since this is a problem that comes up from time to time, would it  
>>> be possible for the MacTeX installer to check if the ~/Library/ 
>>> texmf folder exists, and if it doesn't create one with the  
>>> appropriate folder structure?
> Howdy,
> I'm not sure why a referral to the answer to QM.04 on the MacTeX  
> FAQ, <http://www.tug.org/mactex/2010/faq/>, isn't enough.

I feel I'm being attacked for trying to help :-(.

First, in the series of e-mails that spawned this discussion, no one  
actually pointed to it, and the OP certainly didn't find it.

Second, if you show that answer to an average Mac user, my bet is they  
will have no clue as to what it says, for a couple of reasons: (i) it  
assumes you understand that folders inside folders are represented by  
the '/' notation (not at all obvious to someone who has only used the  
finder.) (ii) it talks about "the standard TeX conventions", which is  
about as vague as could possibly be. And those "standard TeX  
conventions" are outlined in a pretty dense 20 page document (texdoc  
tds if you're interested) which most of us here have probably never  
actually read.

Third, again, for users used to the Finder, it really doesn't actually  
tell you what to do.

> Isn't this an opportunity for learning something about the file  
> system since eventually you'd want to know that to understand at  
> least some of what is talked about on the list.

Perhaps, but surely someone's goal has nothing to do with  
understanding what gets said on this list, but actually doing the work  
that they need a working TeX system to do.  That we end up  
understanding what gets said on this list is a (mostly irrelevant)  
side effect.

All I proposed was that there be an easy way for new users to set up  
the folder structure. In fact, one could argue that having the  
structure pre-set, *aids* people to understand it.  Jumping through  
the hoops of independently having to create the folders isn't  
necessary for learning that TeX looks in certain places for certain  
files.  Again, understanding TeX and all its intricacies isn't the  
goal, the goal is to be able to use TeX as a tool to do other things.   
After all, that's why  TeXShop was written, and the great one click  
MacTeX installer.  Or should we go back to using the command line for  


Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

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