[tex-live] [XeTeX] Problem with XeTeX's (and perhaps other binaries -- not investigated) handling of --output-directory

mskala at ansuz.sooke.bc.ca mskala at ansuz.sooke.bc.ca
Sun Jan 15 20:43:03 CET 2017

On Sun, 15 Jan 2017, Philip Taylor wrote:
> the current working directory :
> > E:/TeX/Projects/WBH/Welcome/foo.tex
> >	o xetex --output-directory=../dynamic-content ./foo.tex
> the file that is actually processed is
> > E:/TeX/Projects/WBH/Dynamic-content/foo.tex

I agree that that shouldn't happen.  A relative path on the command line
should normally be relative to the current working directory when the
program is invoked.  My guess is that the option's main effect may really
be to cause XeTeX to change to the output directory before doing
anything else (like Make's -C option), after which relative paths refer to
the specified output directory.

But there's more going on here, because what about relative paths
specified inside the .tex file?  There will be cases where the right thing
is to read them from the output directory (like .aux files), and cases
where the right thing is for them to be relative to the directory that
actually contains the .tex file (like fonts).  I'm not sure any simple
priority rule for searching both directories will correctly handle all
these cases.

The bottom line is that attempting to defeat TeX's efforts to keep input
and output in the same directory is asking for trouble.  Maybe this option
shouldn't exist at all.

Matthew Skala
mskala at ansuz.sooke.bc.ca                 People before principles.

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