[tex-live] Building the "TeX in Practice" format and saving it in a sensible location

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Mon Dec 3 01:35:07 CET 2018

On 2018-12-02 at 20:24:50 +0000, Philip Taylor wrote:
 > David Carlisle wrote:
 > >> not the (very obscure, and somewhere I would never think to
 > >> look) default location ?
 > > ??? probably you can set the output direction but since the default
 > > isn't obscure at all, it just uses the current directory, I'd just
 > > move it afterwards.
 > But it wasn't the current directory at all :  it wanted to write to
 > c:/users/philip taylor.fujitsu-pc/.texlive2018/texmf-var/web2c ! 

This is the directory (among others) where where kpathsea looks for
format files.  This directory is used when format files are created by
fmtutil/mktexfmt and in particular when format files are created

If you say

  xetex &texip

then kpathsea notices that there is no file "texip.fmt" on your system
and calls fmtutil/mktexfmt which installs generated format files in
either TEXMFVAR or TEXMFSYSVAR.  This is the appropriate place because
people don't want to copy the format files to every directory where
they need them.

However, if you say

  xetex -ini ...

the format file will be created in the current directory because
fmtutil and mktexfmt are not involved.

I'm wondering whether a format file is required at all.  Isn't it
possible to just load the TeX source of the format file instead of the
format file itself?  You can state more than one TeX file on the
command line iff none but the last one contains \end, \endinput, or

Does this work, Phil?  I suppose that you don't intend to change the
contents of the book but maybe you want to change papersize to A4.
Format files only make sense if you use a huge macro package


Reinhard Kotucha                            Phone: +49-511-3373112
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover                    mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de

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