[tex-live] TeX Distribution Preference Pane does not recognize MacPorts TeX Live

Davide Liessi davide.liessi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 13 12:13:24 CEST 2015

Dear Dick,

Il 12/04/15 21.00, Richard Koch ha scritto:
> The TeX Dist Preference Pane requires that a data structure describing the distribution
> exist in /Library/TeX/Distributions. The data structure is a small collection of symbolic links
> to various parts of the distribution. MacTeX installs the data structure when it
> installs TeX Live or Basic TeX. It is up to the authors of other distributions to install the
> structure or ignore it. If they ignore it, their distribution will not appear in the Preference
> Pane.

the data structure for MacPorts TeX Live is installed by MacTeX and as 
far as I can see the symlinks inside it point to the correct locations.
See also the last paragraph in

Also, MacPorts TeX Live is correctly recognized by texdist (although it 
also incorrectly lists MacPorts teTeX, which used to install files in 
the same locations of MacPorts TeX Live)

$ texdist --list

What do texdist and the preference pane check to determine if a 
distribution is available?
I thought that the preference pane would use texdist, but this obviously 
is not the case.


P.S. I agree that the data structure should be installed by the 
distribution, even only because MacPorts can be installed in prefixes 
different from /opt/local, or to correctly discern between MacPorts TeX 
Live and MacPorts teTeX.
But this is not possible if MacTeX already installs them: what name 
should the data structures have (being the obvious ones already used)? 
Will the user see both the MacTeX-provided and the MacPorts-provided 
data structures? Who should delete the data structures provided by MacTeX?
I'm willing to help improving this (e.g. I could prepare a port for the 
data structure in MacPorts), but I don't know how we could migrate from 
the current situation to the desired one without messing with user files 
and expectations.

P.P.S. It would be very useful to have the preference pane available as 
a separate installer: I wanted to check whether the preference pane had 
been updated and I had to install MacTeX basic (i.e. about 285 MB more 
than I needed).

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