In the lshort.pdf book, Preface section, page vi, the following lines are present.

LaTeX is available for most computers, from the PC and Mac to large UNIX and VMS systems. On many university computer clusters you will find that a LaTeX installation is available, ready to use. Information on how to access the local LaTeX installation should be provided in the Local Guide [5].

The footnote [5] says this.

[5] Each LaTeX installation should provide a so-called LaTeX Local Guide, which explains the things that are special to the local system. It should be contained in a file called local.tex. Unfortunately, some lazy sysops do not provide such a document. In this case, go and ask your local LaTeX guru for help.

On my Debian 8.3 system with texlive installed, I can't find local.tex file anywhere on the system.

$ locate local.tex

Where can I find this file on a Debian 8.3 system? My Debian system is on my personal laptop and there is no other lazy sysop apart from me who did not provide the document. Right now, tex.stackexchange.com is the only local LaTeX guru I have that I can ask for help.

  • Well, do you really think this file is still necessary at all nowadays? It's about local language settings and hyphenation rules. In principle, you're are the lazy sysop because you did not have created it yet ;-) – user31729 Jun 3 '16 at 18:17
  • @ChristianHupfer I don't think it is necessary but the lshort.pdf book I am reading was last updated on July 18, 2015 which is fairly recent. So if a recently updated book says that local.tex exists on the system, I thought I should look around to see if it is really there and what it contains. – Lone Learner Jun 3 '16 at 18:20
  • Yes, in some sense this paragraph can be deleted from the lshort in my point of view. It's missing in my TL 2015 distribution too. – user31729 Jun 3 '16 at 18:22
  • @LoneLearner That goes back a long way, probably to Lamport in the early 1980s when a TeX installation was a very different thing – Joseph Wright Jun 3 '16 at 18:28

Note it says "should". LaTeX predates the web and other forms of instantly accessible help like this site. The original LaTeX Book had the wording that was copied into lshort that the local installer "should" make a local guide detailing to end users at that site how latex had been set up and configured.

In practice almost no one ever did this even when tex installation was something that only computer specialists would do on some university system.

In fact one of the driving forces behind the lshort document was the fact that many TeX users had no local information at all (hence the slightly ironic entry for a "local guide" in the references).

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In the good(bad) old days there were many different Operating Systems with their own idiosynchranites(SP) but now there are many fewer. My view is that the local.tex document was meant to be configured the peculuarities of these systems by the local sysadim (who had probably never heard of (La)TeX). In my time I have had to use at least six different OS's and have never come across a local.tex.

I think that the current equivalent of a local.tex is lshort.tex (texdoc lshort)

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