[texhax] texhash trouble in TL on Ubuntu

Lars Madsen daleif at imf.au.dk
Thu Aug 16 18:02:37 CEST 2012

Hefferon, James S. wrote, On 2012-08-16 15:21:
>> That is standard I guess, the root user is not using the same PATH as
> the regular users.
> I understand that it varies between Linux distributions.  But Ubuntu is popular and so many people may see the behavior.
>> On my systems I have a specific LaTeX user who owns the LaTeX
> installation, thus I do not have to run anything as root. I think this
> provide a better security.
> That sounds reasonable to me.  What is involved besides creating the user and chown-ing the subdirectory tree?  
> You must need to run texhash as "sudo -ulatexuser texhash".  Anything else?  Any special settings for PATH or EDITOR
> for that user?  Any executables that need to be suid?  Do you need to set the stuff to have the latexuser group also?
> Any other stuff that need to be that user (for instance, asymptote?)?  
> Jim

I have an area on an NFS share (at work) and just a separate partition 
on my Ubuntu at home, say /opt/texlive


is owned by the regular user 'latex' with the regular group 'latex' 
(though the group does not seem relevant in this case)

In /opt/texlive I have the structure

current -> 2012

i.e. the 'current' is a softlink (handy later)

2012 is the current TUG TL12 installation, installed by the latex user

All files in the 2012 have the permissions set by the installer, thus 
they are readable by everyone, but only changable by the latex user

I've changed the PATH setting in /etc/environment to be something like

i.e. to update to 2013, I just move the softlink

Then all 'regular' users have the current TL in their PATH and their 
editors works just fine. Plus the latex user (being a regular user) also 
have the current TL in its PATH, so to update I just do

su - latex
tlmgr update --all --self

might even be possible to use

sudo -u latex tlmgr update --all --self


I will be a good idea to keep an eye on the umask settings for the latex 
user, all changes should be readable by everyone by default.

I used to have the multiuser LaTeX installation owned by me. But the 
umask settings made all changes private to me. So each time I made a 
change, I could use it, but no one else could. And I would only notice 
this when someone complained. So I switched to the separate user approach.



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