[texhax] Where to put amslatex package files on a PC?

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Tue Nov 17 23:29:50 CET 2009

[SUMMARY: everything was very mistaken and useless ...]

At 20:06 16.11.09, Barbara Beeton wrote:
>On Fri, 13 Nov 2009, Uwe Lueck wrote:
>     Well, this were 2 HTML postings (therefore unreadable for many), the
>     second of which said that the problem has been resolved by AMS LaTeX
>     support. The first posting said that AMS LaTeX documentation tell users
>     to install the files in the "TEXMF" folder (and another advice not
>     applying). The poster said he is working with a MiKTeX installation. I
>     think MiKTeX recently by default used "miktex" instead of "texmf" for the
>     TeX installation tree.  AMS LaTeX documentation should account for
>     this. -- Cheers, Uwe.
>i'm the person who answered the original
>question, and also maintain the ams latex
>you say that ams latex documentation should
>account for changes in the miktex installation.
>this is impractical for several reasons:

At 22:37 12.11.09, inquiries at mortonresearch.org [OP] wrote:
>I m on a Windows PC using WinShell and MiKTeX and downloaded the package 
>called: amslatex, zipped as gsm_amslatex.zip.

SUMMARY: You should not have downloaded and worried about it ...

>The README-M-L.TXT file also suggests that I get technical and 
>administrative information from the AMS Author FAQ:
>      http://www.ams.org/authors/author-faq.html
>but here, the section entitled: "Technical Topics, Running (La)TeX - where 
>to install packages, etc."
>says to:
>"First, check that you have placed the package files in the local TEXMF 
>tree where TeX is supposed to look for them. For an AMS-LaTeX author 
>package, the recommended location is TEXMF/tex/latex/ams-author-info."
>but there is no such folder named "TEXMF" on my entire computer.

Actually, this refers to


I realize

     It is just some general TeX advice,
     some service from the AMS
     (indeed irrelevant for AMS-LaTeX).

     2. The OP did not understand that "TEXMF" here
     is nothing but a placeholder for the name of a
     TeX files directory, not (necessarily)
     an actual directory name.

If the AMS-LaTeX documentation is misleading, this just may be in referring 
to other sites instead of simply saying something like:

    If you have a working TeX installation,
    most probably AMS-LaTeX is already available to you,
    do not try to install it again!

There might be additional info on UPDATING, but hide it so it is not read 
unnecessarily ... (Indeed, how many decades ago was the last AMS-LaTeX update?)

Yes, I wrote MiKTeX's default value for TEXMF once changed, but no special 
account for this is needed when it is clear that the value depends ...

At 22:37 12.11.09, inquiries at mortonresearch.org [OP] wrote:
>By the way, when I go to MiKTeX, as suggested by 
>http://www.ams.org/authors/author-faq.html, it doesn't tell where to put 
>the packages either. It only tells how to install packages from a list, 
>the locations of which are truncated so as not to reveal the entire path, 
>as in the AMS instructions.
>I know these are all errors in the AMS s instructions,

... seems to be mistaken ...

>but when I spoke with ams tech-support, but they said:
>   Not being a user of winshell or miktex (and no one else here is either 
> -- we all use tex on unix/linux systems), the best advice i can give is 
> to check the miktex documentation.

Oh my ... MiKTeX is (mainly) a package manager (and there are Linux package 
managers), probably the main virtue of a package manager is SAVING you from 
thinking about where to place single files. For an entire new installation, 
the installer just asks if you want to use a different name for TEXMF than 
the default. For installing or updating single packages, you just choose 
their names, and the package manager usually does the rest of the job, you 
only may need to REFRESH THE FILE NAME DATA BASE (this is about the MiKTeX 
documentation tells you how to ...)

(Again, most probably most relevant with AMS-LaTeX: forget about it!)

Concerning installations that are not maintained by a package manager, one 
may refer to the UK TeX FAQ ...

>  - nobody at ams is using miktex, so there is
>    otherwise no reason to subscribe to a forum
>    in which such changes might be announced.
>  - if we managed to keep up with one distribution,
>    we would have to do the same for all.  how
>    many are there, counting all the different
>    unix/linux varieties?  we simply don't have
>    the resources to handle this volume.

The above site mentions a few most frequently used TeX systems, MiKTeX 
among them. I estimate 10 through 90 percent AMS-LaTeX users work on 
Windows with MiKTeX, at least about as many users work on Windows (even 
university members having access to a university UNIX installation may 
prefer working at home at a PC under Windows), I estimate that MiKTeX is 
most common for driving TeX under Windows. Or MiKTeX and texlive together 
make up more than 50 percent of all AMS-LaTeX users ...

I currently do not have quick access to MiKTeX installations, but I am very 
interested in how it renders some packages. Once I noticed that relevant 
PicTeX documentation files were missing. I am about to ask on the MiKTeX 
mailing list how certain packages are rendered.

Most importantly, it may be good to know how MiKTeX calls your package ...

>what we *do* say is that a user should refer to
>the instructions for the particular distribution
>regarding installation of extra packages.

Indeed, fine ...

... and AMS-LaTeX is not "extra", it is "required"!



>i was able to go to the miktex site and find
>reasonably coherent instructions, although the
>answer to the question wasn't in what i thought
>were the most obvious places.  (i know from
>experience that maintaining a faq isn't trivial,
>so i don't mean to knock whoever is doing that
>for miktex.)
>we are soon undertaking an update of all of
>ams-latex, both the document classes and
>amsmath.  upgrading the documentation is part
>of that effort.  we will continue to offer the
>best suggestions that we can, assuming a tds
>distribution, but we will continue to be
>generic and rely on the various distributors
>to clarify the specific requirements of their
>                                                 -- bb

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