[tex-live] kpsewhich search order and how to change it

Philip K.F. Hölzenspies p.k.f.holzenspies at utwente.nl
Fri Nov 16 13:58:17 CET 2007

Dear all,

I'm truly sorry if I could have easily found the answer to this problem in the 
archives or on a wiki. If so, I must have overlooked.

My problem is rather far beyond my understanding of TeXLive and especially 
Kpathsea. It seems I can't get TeX to use the texmf in my home directory. 
Although, sometimes it does. I can't illustrate my confusion better than by 
the following.

I use a package called TikZ/pgf. When running my LaTeX document, some files 
come from my texmf and some from the system's global texmf (in /usr/share/). 
Since the version in my personal texmf is newer, this creates problems. See 
this test:

holzensp:~> kpsewhere tikz.sty pgfcore.code.tex

So, both files are in both my and the global texmf. Note that in both cases, 
kpsewhere shows the /home/aid/holzensp/texmf first. However, when I as 

holzensp:~> kpsewhich tikz.sty pgfcore.code.tex

Can anyone explain this? Is there a way to force the use of files in my own 


For debug info: I use the default TeX Live 2007 distribution as packaged for 
openSuSE 10.3. This means I have kpathsea version 3.5.6

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