[tex-live] TEXMFHOME when using install-tl on a Mac

Richard Koch koch at math.uoregon.edu
Thu Oct 6 04:33:00 CEST 2011


I make MacTeX. Let me add a couple of minor comments.

MacTeX is constructed by installing TeX Live on a computer with an empty /usr/local, and then using
Apple software to construct an install package from the result. To install TeX Live, I use the
TeX Live install script with default choices, except that

	TEXMFHOME =	~/Library/texmf

	TEXMFCONFIG =	~/Library/texlive/2011/texmf-config

	TEXMFVAR =		~/Library/texlive/2011/texmf-var

No texmf.cfg is edited in any way, and no file in the distribution is changed before making the
install package. Thus a user installing with the TeX Live install script will get what we 
install just by changing the three values above in the initial stages of running the script.

All this is a deliberate design decision. I refused to change TEXMFCONFIG and
TEXMFVAR after others on the MacTeX list recommended those changes, until Karl
added those choices to the install script.

I’m not in favor of revising our choices. Mac users don’t like
their home directories cluttered up with mysterious folders like texmf.
Apple provided a folder named ~/Library for such geeky files and folders,
and in Lion they made it a hidden folder to improve the experience a little more.

Although ~/Library is hidden, it is EASY to get to it. Apple’s Finder has a GO menu
listing several commonly used folders. If the user holds down the option key, ~/Library
is added to this menu, and choosing it opens that folder. As Alan explained, there
is documentation in MacTeX and elsewhere on the web explaining how to add style
files to TeX by using ~/Library/texmf, and we only need to add this GO menu trick
to that documentation for Lion. That has already been done in several spots (although
MacTeX was released before Lion).

None of this contradicts other comments in the thread. We just need to encourage
users who install directly via the script to use the above value of TEXMFHOME.

Dick Koch

More information about the tex-live mailing list