[tex-live] TEXINPUTS, pdfTeX and texmf.cnf

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Mon Sep 22 17:34:10 CEST 2003

On Monday, Sep 22, 2003, at 16:01 Europe/Amsterdam, Karl Berry wrote:

> Gerben, as Seb asked, which formats, specifically, are causing you
> support problems?

pdfamstex, but that one is only in the fmtuil.cnf I ship. I used to be 
able to change the fmtutil.cnf without having to mess with the default 
texmf.cnf. Then suddenly I got reports of problems from people and I am 
not that deep into TeX internals that I immediately knew what was going 

> I had the impression that everything relevant was already included in
> texmf.cnf.  Are people really making up their own new formats?  Surely
> anyone capable of doing that is capable of adding a line to texmf.cnf?

Well, what happens is that people have learned a recipe for creating a 
new format (say something floating around on their institution) and 
they do that (script kiddie level). And suddenly this stops working 
after they have upgraded their installation through i-Installer and 
then logically they contact me.

> Certainly it should be fixed, but ... now?

I would like it to be. I' d rather had the TEXINPUTS default to be 
"find everything unless specifically forbidden" it is a friendlier 

> That said, like Seb, I don't see any files under texmf/tex/pdftex that
> would cause a conflict.  So if this is really causing a great deal of
> trouble for you, I guess we could try adding it to TEXINPUTS.

I cannot gauge the risks better than you can, but given that the most 
important formats have their own TEXINPUTS variant, I guess the risk is 
pretty low.

> (BTW, I don't know who created pdftexinfo.tex but it's really ancient
> history ...)

"To be or not to be, that is the question" -- Parmenides

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