Dr. Brian Biswell | 19 Oct 02:07 2015

cannot call bibtex with absolute path name

I am trying to use bibtex on a document. I have TeXLive 2015 installed on Mac OS X El Capitan.  I am running it from the Terminal. When I call bibtex with either an absolute path name or relative path name with ‘/./‘ in it, I get an error saying it cannot write to the .blg file.

The following examples will work on my machine:

bibtex texfile
bibtex path/to/texfile

the following will not work

bibtex /abs/path/to/texfile
bibtex path/to/./texfile
bibtex ../texfile

I get the same error in TeXLive 2014, but TeXLive 2011 seems to work properly (the absolute and relative paths will work properly).

Felix Pahl | 17 Oct 18:05 2015

misleading ls-R advice

Hi -- I followed the instructions at https://tug.org/texinfohtml/kpathsea.html to use the command

ls -LAR ./ >ls-R

to generate a ls-R file. However, this didn't work, and debugging with -kpathsea-debug=32 displayed messages of the form

kdebug:db:match(/usr/local/texlive/2015basic/texmf-local//tex/latex/lastpage/lastpage.sty,/usr/local/texlive/2015basic/texmf-local/tex/latex//) = 0

where the double slash prevented the match -- the correpsonding entry in the ls-R file was


The problem was resolved when I used

ls -LAR . >ls-R

instead (without the extra slash) -- the entry in the ls-R file then becomes


(again without the extra slash), and the match succeeds:

kdebug:db:match(/usr/local/texlive/2015basic/texmf-local/tex/latex/lastpage/lastpage.sty,/usr/local/texlive/2015basic/texmf-local/tex/latex//) = 1

Norbert Preining | 18 Sep 02:51 2015

portability of format dumps

Dear all

I would like to know what is ther current status of format dump file's
portability between architectures.
(status: texlive 2015 sources)

I remember faintly that at some point it was possible to use 
format dumps within the same endian-class, but it was not possible
to switch to a different-endian system.

Is this still the case, are there any other restrictions concerning
format dump reuse across platforms?

Background: Debian uses multi-arch systems and would like to have as many
packages marked up as arch-independent so that one can use whatever arch
that is installed



PREINING, Norbert                               http://www.preining.info
JAIST, Japan                                 TeX Live & Debian Developer
GPG: 0x860CDC13   fp: F7D8 A928 26E3 16A1 9FA0  ACF0 6CAC A448 860C DC13

Bruno Voisin | 19 Aug 14:32 2015

List of file type NAMEs in the TL doc

Hi Karl (or whoever monitors this address),

Regarding the list of names for --show-path, §7.2.2 of the texlive doc in TEXMFDIST/doc/texlive, that is


refers to --format which refers in turn to "kpsewhich --help", yielding

-format=NAME           use file type NAME (see list below).
-show-path=NAME        output search path for file type NAME (list below).

There is no list below, unfortunately, just

Email bug reports to tex-k@...
Kpathsea home page: http://tug.org/kpathsea/

Actually the list may be found in §§5.5.1 and 6.1 of the kpathsea doc in TEXMFDIST/doc/kpathsea, that is 


but it seems it's been overlooked at some point when updating the texlive and kpathsea docs.

Or am I missing something?

Bruno Voisin

Pavel Sanda | 14 Aug 06:22 2015

epstopdf bug?


attached is eps file which loads fine when using several postscript viewers
(e.g. gv, evince) but the content inside frame disappears when converting via

The problem can be consistently reproduced by using matlab imagesc function
for graphs with scaled x axis. Not sure whether it's matlab producing
broken eps or epstopdf problem, but given that several viewers have no 
problem to display the file I guess the later is the case.

Can anyone reproduce or give a hint how to fix this problem?

Attachment (2015-03-14.eps): application/postscript, 155 KiB
jfbu | 1 May 19:50 2015

kpsewhich --var-value


the kpathsea manual says 


•  ‘--var-value=variable’ outputs the value of variable, expanding ‘$’ (see Variable
expansion and ‘~’ (see Tilde expansion) constructs, but not performing other expansions.


$ env TEXMFHOME="/tmp" kpsewhich --var-value '$TEXMFHOME'

$ env TEXMFHOME="/tmp" kpsewhich --var-value TEXMFHOME

This is a bash shell

Do I do something wrong ? 

$ export TEXMFHOME="/tmp"
$ kpsewhich -var-value TEXMFHOME
$ kpsewhich -var-value '$TEXMFHOME'


Perhaps it is to be understood that if a texmf.cnf defines a variable then if this variable is queried, $ and ~
therein will be expanded ? 

I tried something else: 

$ export TMP1='$TMP2'
$ export TMP2='~'
$ kpsewhich -var-value '$TMP1'

$ kpsewhich -var-value '$TMP2'




jfbu | 30 Apr 14:51 2015

Speed of kpsewhich when querying the repertories of the TeX installation


upcoming TL2015 brings a great speed improvement to kpsewhich
on Mac OS X system, thanks to Adam Maxwell's analysis of the


but even after this great improvement, querying TEXMFHOME
and similar locations does still take some non vanishing time:

$ time kpsewhich --var-value=TEXMFHOME

real	0m0.090s
user	0m0.081s
sys	0m0.006s

This is on MacBook Air, and I get similar results on a i386 Linux box 

$ time kpsewhich --expand-path '$TEXMFHOME' 

real	0m0.109s
user	0m0.072s
sys	0m0.010s

A tenth of second just to query a repertory location seems
a lot to naive people unaware of the constraints (unknown to me) 

For example, if I want to write a package and provide
a way for the user to install it in a local or user tree, 
I may write a Makefile which will act after querying
the repertories locations. But one tenth of a second
for each kpsewhich call is a lot.

Could it be imagined to have some kpsewhichdir utility
which given TEXMFHOME will *instantly* return either
the environment variable $TEXMFHOME if it exists or the
TEXMFHOME setting as per the various texmf.cnf ?

best wishes


Ettore Aldrovandi | 24 Apr 17:58 2015

luajittex test fail on Solaris 10 x86_64


I get one test failure for luajittex during the TeXLive build process. This is on Solaris 10, 64bit. I’m attaching test-suite.log


Attachment (test-suite.log): application/octet-stream, 469 bytes

Ettore Aldrovandi
Department of Mathematics, Florida State University
1017 Academic Way                *    http://www.math.fsu.edu/~ealdrov
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4510, USA * * aldrovandi at math dot fsu dot edu

Attachment (smime.p7s): application/pkcs7-signature, 7116 bytes
Manuel López-Ibáñez | 16 Apr 13:49 2015

bibtex should print the path of the bib files it uses

Dear BibTeX maintainers,

I just wasted a few hours for something that could have been caught earlier if 
BibTeX printed the full path to the bib files it uses. Small testcase:

$ cat <<EOF >test.tex
$ cat <<EOF >/tmp/000O.bib
 <at> misc{X,
   title =        "Wrong one"
$ export BIBINPUTS=/tmp/:.
$ pdflatex test.tex
$ bibtex test.aux
This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2013/Debian)
The top-level auxiliary file: test.aux
The style file: plain.bst
Database file #1: 000O.bib

Now the problem is that if the search patch is set by other means (for example 
by the distribution) and if I actually meant to include 0000.bib (note the typo 
in the last character). I will have a hard time figuring out that the 000O.bib 
included by bibtex is actually /tmp/000O.bib and not ./000O.bib. The latter 
would have resulted in an error and then I would have noticed the typo.

The above is distilled from a real user-case in Ubuntu GNU/Linux where the file 
is included by default and if I had intended to use ./journals.bib but my file 
was misnamed ./journal.bib, then bibtex does not gives me any hint that 
something is wrong.

What I would expect above is:

This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2013/Debian)
The top-level auxiliary file: test.aux
The style file: plain.bst
Database file #1: /tmp/000O.bib

that is, for bibtex to print the path to the file it uses. I would go as far as 
to suggest the same for "The style file:".

BibTeX 0.99d (TeX Live 2013/Debian)
kpathsea version 6.1.1



KUROKI Yusuke | 20 Jan 04:40 2015

Issues in epstopdf in MSYS/MinGW system

Hello, the list,

I would like to report inconvenience of epstopdf(.pl)
in the MSYS (or MinGW) system, which is a mainly
developers' environment providing bash,
Unix-like text utilities, and more in Windows OS,
and make a proposal to improve it.

While using MSYS, system name is changed to "MSYS",
not "MSWin...".  Since $GS should be gswin32 to use TeX
Live's tlgs distribution, $on_windows variable should be
also true when the system name is "MSYS".

MSYS changes some character strings including /
as shown at http://www.mingw.org/wiki/Posix_path_conversion .
The options to Ghostscript has /, then epstopdf fails.
Ghostscript's help says "(you can use # in place of =)"
and documentation says also "Ghostscript treats '#' the
same internally, and the '=' is mangled by the command
shell. " (e.g., at http://www.ghostscript.com/doc/current/Use.htm#MS_Windows)
epstopdf(.ps) has two cases giving option separated by "="
to Ghostscript; I think "=" should be "#" in both cases.

The attached file is a proposal patch to trunk of TeX Live repository.

-- KUROKI Yusuke
--- epstopdf.pl.orig	2015-01-18 17:55:00.025652200 +0900
+++ epstopdf.pl.new	2015-01-20 08:26:05.057988400 +0900
 <at>  <at>  -179,7 +179,7  <at>  <at> 
 my $title = "$program $ident\n";

-my $on_windows = $^O =~ /^MSWin/;
+my $on_windows = $^O =~ /^MSWin/ || $^O eq "msys";
 my $on_windows_or_cygwin = $on_windows || $^O eq "cygwin";

 ### ghostscript command name
 <at>  <at>  -570,7 +570,7  <at>  <at> 
   warnerr "Invalid value for --pdfsettings: $::opt_pdfsettings";
   $::opt_pdfsettings = '';
-push  <at> GS, "-dPDFSETTINGS=/$::opt_pdfsettings" if $::opt_pdfsettings;
+push  <at> GS, "-dPDFSETTINGS#/$::opt_pdfsettings" if $::opt_pdfsettings;

 push  <at> GS, qw[
 <at>  <at>  -596,7 +596,7  <at>  <at> 
         . "(use 'All', 'None' or 'PageByPage'";
   $::opt_autorotate = '';
-push  <at> GS, "-dAutoRotatePages=/$::opt_autorotate" if $::opt_autorotate;
+push  <at> GS, "-dAutoRotatePages#/$::opt_autorotate" if $::opt_autorotate;
 $rotmsg = $::opt_autorotate ? $::opt_autorotate : "[use gs default]";

 foreach my $gsopt ( <at> ::opt_gsopt) {
Mehdi Mahmoodi nia | 4 Jan 01:32 2015

bibtex cannot find my .bib file

Dear Developer,

Recently, I upgrade my mac OSX machine to Yosemite and got several problems with references in latex. I'm using Aquamcs editor to distribute the latex.  Before upgrading, this file worked properly. This is the error message, when I run the tex file :
Running `BibTeX' on `Manuscript' with ``bibtex Manuscript''
This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2013)
The top-level auxiliary file: Manuscript.aux
I couldn't open database file paper.bib
---line 151 of file Manuscript.aux
 : \bibdata{paper
 :                       }
I'm skipping whatever remains of this command
The style file: pccp.bst
I found no database files---while reading file Manuscript.aux
Warning--I didn't find a database entry for "nm_6_183"
Warning--I didn't find a database entry for "mt_10_20"
Warning--I didn't find a database entry for "jams_3_270"
(There were 2 error messages)

TeX Output exited abnormally with code 2 at Sun Jan  4 01:20:21

Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.