[texhax] whoops

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Oct 28 23:38:14 CET 2014

On 2014-10-27 at 22:53:34 +0000, Philip Taylor wrote:

 > Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
 > > Not a good idea.  Use things as they are documented.  TeX Live is a
 > > complex system.  It's too easy to shoot into your own leg.  Whenever
 > > you change a TEXINPUTS.* variable I can guarantee you that the
 > > confusion outweighs the benefit.
 > For me, setting TEXINPUTS.XeTeX is essential; it allows me to
 > access images that are exchanged through Dropbox and which end up
 > as a result in different directories on different machines, yet the
 > source files must work on either.  In addition, now that I am using
 > the -output-directory qualifier to XeTeX in order to avoid a 50Mb
 > PDF being continually re-up and down-loaded by Dropbox, I also need
 > to add that directory to TEXINPUTS.XeTeX in order for my TeX source
 > files to be able to read the auxiliary files that they have created
 > on a previous run.  I experience no problems whatsoever -- what
 > problems are you aware of, Reinhard, that others (less lucky than
 > I) have encountered ?

Phil, the variables exist in order to allow users to adapt the system
to their needs.  There is nothing wrong if users make changes if
really necessary.  TeX Live is customizable on purpose, of course.

The drawback is that you are doing it at your own risk.  If something
doesn't work as expected, others might not be able to reproduce the
problems.  Hence I suggest to think at least twice whether these
changes are really necessary.

I'm convinced that in most cases there is no need to change the
defaults.  If files are not found in TEXMFHOME the most likely reason
is that the directory structure is not TDS compliant.  If you want to
add your own file(s) to TEXMFHOME and are not aware of TDS, run

  tlmgr init-userdir

This is by far the best solution.  The command creates a TDS compliant
tree of empty directories in TEXMFHOME.  This is very helpful in order
to determine where TeX (in fact kpathsea) expects particular files.

In short: only change the default settings if there is no other


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

More information about the texhax mailing list