[OS X TeX] Mactex-20180417 and TexShop path problem: path not updated

Richard Koch koch at uoregon.edu
Mon Apr 30 10:23:19 EDT 2018


Yesterday, Craig Marshall described a problem with the latest MacTeX-2018 installation. His problem was caused by using my "LocalTeX" preference pane. My answer was too harsh with little real help. Let me try again.

At my web site, http://pages.uoregon.edu/koch, I provide a small preference pane called "LocalTeX", together with instructions and full source. This pane allows users to change the active distribution, much like the pane from Jerome Laurens, and may be useful for a small group of users. It will never be part of MacTeX.

The advantage of this pane is that it sets the active distribution only for one user, rather than all users on the machine. So it doesn't require root access and never puts up a pesky dialog asking for it. Moreover, it can be applied to distributions without a TeX Dist structure, and distributions installed in a user's home directory when that user doesn't have permission to access system directories.

A disadvantage of the pane is that applications must be reconfigured to use it. Specifically, instead of using the link "/Library/TeX/texbin",
they must use the link "/Library/TeX/LocalTeX/texbin". The pane has buttons which reconfigure some, but not all, applications. The reconfiguring needs to be done only once and then the application will work over the years.

Here is a screen shot of the pane:

The first item in the pane is always "Use TeX Live Utility". (I forgot that yesterday). Clicking this item will use the global default set by MacTeX, which can be changed with TeX Live Utility. So all Craig had to do was select that item, and everything would have worked again.

Listed below are all items with TeX Dist structures. This allows a user to select a standard distribution which was NOT selected as the global active distribution. No doubt Craig selected TeXLive-2016 here, but then later removed that distribution. Below these items, extra distributions without TeX Dist structures would appear.

When MacTeX-2018 is installed, it resets the global default to 2018. It doesn't reset any local default. So one danger of the pane is that users will select the current global distribution in lines 2 or later, update, and think they are using the latest distribution when they aren't.

Moral of the story: most users should ignore this pane. But it is not dangerous once you remember the tricks.

Dick Koch
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