[tex-live] behaviour of kpsewhich on case-insensitive mac system

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Thu Sep 21 14:46:25 CEST 2017

Manfred Lotz <manfred at dante.de> writes on Wed, 20 Sep 2017 20:48:37
+0200 about checking for a case-preserving filesystem:

>> ...
>> Is there time to check the case sensitivity of the filesystem by
>> running 
>>    touch   some_weird_name
>>    touch   SOME_WEIRD_name
>> ...

Let us remember that such things are a property of the filesystem,
rather than the O/S.  Thus, such a check cannot be done at configure
time, but only at run time, and then only in the same filesystem where
the question needs to be answered.  However, the touch command will
fail if that filesystem is mounted read-only.

At our large site (18K+ users), for performance reasons, our
thin-client servers get read-only nightly copies of much shared
software in local directory trees.  On other systems, ZFS snapshots
may be distributed to secondary and tertiary servers, and then
NFS-mounted from there by client machines: they too, being snapshots,
are read-only.

Thus, the problem of single-case vs case-insensitive vs
case-insensitive + case-preserving vs case sensitive filesystem
variants is not easy to deal with automatically by tools like tlmgr
and TeX input commands.

When I find filename lettercase conflicts in user (La)TeX files, I
point out to them the necessity of consistent filenaming conventions,
the easiest to remember being to downcase everything, except for two
files: Makefile and README.  I also point out that spaces, and
punctuation other than a single dot, should be avoided in filenames,
and that while modern systems handle Unicode characters above the
ASCII limit of U+007F, older ones, and many software tools, do not.
Then there is the issue of filename length issues as well, 8 + 3, 31,
63, 127, 255, ...  What a mess.

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

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