[MacTeX] LaTeX format not rebuilt after package update

Andreas Scherer andreas_tex at freenet.de
Fri Feb 14 15:53:22 CET 2020

Dear all,

about a year ago, I installed the 'BasicTeX' distribution for MacOS
(version 10.12 on Mac Mini) plus a very few extra packages and was using
the TeX Live installation happily both as native 'pdflatex' and as
background process for Pandoc. I regularly ran 'tlmgr update --all'.

Yesterday (!), all of a sudden, Pandoc failed on a rather simple input
file that was successfully compiled into PDF before. Error inspection
revealed a message from 'pdflatex' along the lines

   LaTeX requires version 2020-02-02, but found version 2018-nn-nn

(plus an 'undefined macro' error message).

All *.fmt I could 'find' were located under
/usr/local/texlive/2019basictex/texmf-var/web2c/pdftex/ and had, alas!,
a creation date of the installation in April 2019. Closer inspection
showed that 'latex.ltx' indeed had '\edef\fmtversion {2020-02-02}' in
conflict with the older '(pdf)latex.fmt' file(s). After some studies I
ran the incantation 'fmtutil --sys --byfmt=latex' and 'fmtutil --sys
--byfmt=pdflatex' and all was fine again.

Today afternoon I noticed that package 'latex' (et al.) was updated
(again) by 'tlmgr update --all', but after

   running mktexlsr ...
   done running mktexlsr.
   regenerating fmtutil.cnf in \

all that appeared was the final message

   tlmgr: package log updated: \

In contrast, my private Linux box with TeX Live did never show such a
situation, and after todays 'tlmgr update --all', it ran and reported

   running fmtutil-sys --no-error-if-no-engine=\
      luahbtex,luajittex,mfluajit --byfmt latex ...

and recreated all (four) '*latex.fmt' files as necessary.

My question is: How can I re-configure MacTeX/BasicTeX to follow suit?

TIA, Andreas

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