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

Herbert Schulz herbs at wideopenwest.com
Thu Oct 6 12:23:32 CEST 2011

On Oct 5, 2011, at 9:33 PM, Richard Koch wrote:

> Folks,
> 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


I'm sure Karl will answer this if no one else does...

Suppose one installs TL via the script with its default values and then discovers things aren't where they expected. Remembering that they installed TL into a directory they could access (after all, that's why they didn't install via the MacTeX installer) could they simply create a texmf.cnf file with the variables defined above and install it into .../texlive/2011/ and then have everything set up like TL via MacTeX for ``personal directories''? I.e., is that all the install script does when it request non-default values for those variables?

Good Luck,

Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest dot com)

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