[tex-live] Default installation violates filesystem hierarchy standards

Nelson H. F. Beebe beebe at math.utah.edu
Mon Sep 28 13:55:25 CEST 2015

Norbert Preining writes in reponse to a suggestion that the default
location for TeX Live installations be under /opt/tug, rather than

>> Furthermore, there is as far as I remember or have seen *NO* 
>> package management system that installs into /usr/local. 

Actually, there are several that do so, and that is why we made a
decision at Utah a few years ago to use a unique installation tree on
all of our new systems: /usr/uumath.  See


for a discussion.  The regrettable practice of GNU compilers
documented there is another strong reason to avoid /usr/local.

For TeX Live, I have no problem with the current default of
/usr/local/texlive/YYYY (in our case, YYYY = 2003, 2004, ....).  That
introduces only a single new directory under /usr/local, and does not
interfere with any other software, including those package managers in
the BSD world that install packages under /usr/local.

Also, symlinks are a reasonable way to get executables inside the TeX
Live tree visible to users with default search paths that include
/usr/local/bin.  Alternatively, and the one that we use, one can
simply add /usr/local/texlive/YYYY/bin/ARCH to PATH ahead of /bin,
/usr/bin, and /usr/local/bin.  [On many of our systems, there are at
least two other independent TeX distributions installed, including an
older one of our own that is retained from compatability with older
user (La)TeX files, and a second one in /usr/bin from the software
vendor or distributor.]

It is important to remember that ARCH is not a single choice: it may
be that on personal machines such as private desktops and laptops, but
it is most certainly not at large installations.  At my site, we have
about 50 flavors of Unix available, and all of the TeX
Live-distributed ARCH values are in use, plus several more that I
build locally, and many of them are provided from a single fileserver.

So, let's keep /usr/local/texlive/YYYY as the default in Unix flavors;
it can be trivially changed at install time by any user who wants a
different choice (and it can even be moved somewhere else after
installation, thanks to relative path addressing in TeXware).

- Nelson H. F. Beebe                    Tel: +1 801 581 5254                  -
- University of Utah                    FAX: +1 801 581 4148                  -
- Department of Mathematics, 110 LCB    Internet e-mail: beebe at math.utah.edu  -
- 155 S 1400 E RM 233                       beebe at acm.org  beebe at computer.org -
- Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0090, USA    URL: http://www.math.utah.edu/~beebe/ -

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