[tex-live] [mf] option `-output-directory' doesn't work

Karl Berry karl at freefriends.org
Mon Feb 7 19:49:51 CET 2011

(Finally had a moment to investigate this elusive thread.)

    zd>  mf --output-directory=../tmp/mftest "\mode:=ljfour; mag:=1; input cmr10"
    zd> works
    wl> Interesting.  It fails for me, [...]

Werner, what exactly is the error message / .log?

A hunch: do the directories ../tmp and ../tmp/mftest exist?  MF will not
create any directories.

Less likely: are the directories writable to you (per normal Unix
permissions)?  I expect they are, but of course that would disallow it

For me, if I specify an existing writable directory to mf,
--output-directory is used for the output files.  That's the intent.
If the directory is not writable, there are various error messages.

I fully agree that the error messages leave something to be desired.
Unfortunately, due to the way TeX and MF are constructed, it is not easy
to give better errors without massive rewriting.

Turning to the --help message, it says:
-output-directory=DIR   use DIR as the directory to write files to

As far as I can see, that's exactly what it does.  It uses DIR, it
doesn't create it.  All I can think of is to add "existing" before
"DIR".  Other suggestions welcome.


BTW 1, I don't think the particular shell being used has anything to do
with this particular test run.

BTW 2, as far as I know, openout_any and openin_any in texmf.cnf are not
relevant; as documented there, they're intended to affect TeX/MF
primitives, not the --output-directory option.

More information about the tex-live mailing list