[NTG-context] ConTeXt on Debian: The wiki entry

Frank Küster frank at kuesterei.ch
Tue Oct 24 07:53:55 CEST 2006

Hans Hagen <pragma at wxs.nl> wrote:

> Sanjoy Mahajan wrote:
>> A system-wide installation, if done cleanly, would be much easier
>> (as plink pointed out).  If you (or 'texexec --make' to generate the
>> formats) ask kpathsea where to put the format files, it'll give you
>> a directory in TEXMFHOME, so a per user install.  But how do you ask
>> kpathsea the correct question so that it'll tell you where they
>> should go for a system-wide install?
> you can't and i remember asking for such a feature but ... ;

Can you point me to this discussion?  I think it doesn't need more as
what fmtutil-sys, updmap-sys and texconfig-sys do before calling
fmtutil, updmap or texconfig, respectively:

v=`kpsewhich -var-value TEXMFSYSVAR`
c=`kpsewhich -var-value TEXMFSYSCONFIG`


exec updmap ${1+"$@"}

However, it would be probably more elegant and context-like to not have
texexec and texexec-sys, but rather a commandline switch - in this case
the handling would have to be done in the perl (or ruby?) scripts, which
is somewhat trickier.

> the only
> way to figure that out is to check all format paths and take the first
> one that fits; unfortunalty the tetex paths are rather messy so it's
> hard to predict in what permutation of home, usr, share, sys, opt *
> local * tex, TeX, teTeX, whatever * texmf, texmflocal, texmf-local,
> texmf-teTeX, texmf-dis, texmf.local, texmf-whocares * web2c,
> web2c/engine etc etc a format may end up; 

I'm not sure what you mean.  The default TEXMF path for teTeX (and I
think also for TeXlive) is


where the first three are per-user, the others are system trees.  An
explanation about installing does not need to know whether, for example,
TEXMFLOCAL is called texmf.local or texmf-local or
/usr/local/share/texmf.  The only problem might be that some users
change the order or the trees, but that's not a big problem if we
suggest to use the default path.

> this is further complicated
> by the fact that kpse has to do some guessing about where it's
> configuration files are (web2c, etc, home, nowhere),

This is only a problem if people have more than one texmf.cnf - is this
actually the case?  I don't think I ever heard of that.

> what trees make
> sense, etc etc; and, yes, some of the paths are hard coded in the
> binaries, so relocating is tricky ... isn't it magic that tex still
> runs -)

AFAIK only the search path for texmf.cnf is hard-coded, and that can't
be avoided.  On the other hand, no one ever approached me and requested
a relocation:  What would you want, and in which cases?

TIA, Frank

Dr. Frank Küster
Single Molecule Spectroscopy, Protein Folding @ Inst. f. Biochemie, Univ. Zürich
Debian Developer (teTeX/TeXLive)

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