This is a follow-on from How to get latest version of xii.tex?. From the comments to that question (many thanks) it appears the the two remarkable files from David Carlisle xii.tex and xii-lat.tex are located on my computer via tlmgr in /usr/local/texlive/2017/texmf-dist/doc/plain. Where is the best place to put them so that I can simply do pdftex xii-lat (or xii) and get a PDF output?

I should know an answer but, being a GOM, just in case...

  • if you put it in whatever local tds tree you have /usr/local/texlive/texmf-local/tex/plain/xii/xii.tex for example or if you just want the pdf texdoc xii works. Dec 20, 2017 at 20:00
  • @David Carlisle texdoc xii and texdoc xii-lat just result in a README.txt file. Dec 20, 2017 at 20:08
  • @oh so it does and texdoc xii.pdf gives Bruno's reversi file:-) Dec 20, 2017 at 20:14

2 Answers 2


The file xii-lat.tex would be found, if it were installed below TDS:tex/plain/. But the TDS specification (or CTAN version without links) writes:

3.1 Macros

TeX macro files shall be stored in separate directories, segregated by TeX format and package name (we use "format" in its traditional TeX sense to mean a usefully \dump-able package):


⟨format⟩ is a format name (examples: amstex, latex, plain, texinfo).

The directory tree below TDS:tex/ contains macro files like LaTeX classes, packages or plain macro files. It should be small, to avoid loading/parsing large hierarchies, when compiling a TeX document.

A better place is below TDS:doc/. From the specification:

3.7 Documentation

Most packages come with some form of documentation: user manuals, example files, programming guides, etc. In addition, many independent files not part of any macro or other package have been created to describe various aspects of the TeX system. The TDS specifies that these additional documentation files shall be stored in a structure that parallels to some extent the fonts and tex directories, as follows:


It is also the place for example files, and test files, source code for the documentation, ...

Therefore, the current place below TDS:doc/plain looks correct for me.

A place for discussing is AFAIK the TeX live mailing list.

  • I will try on the mailing list. I feel that xii and friends could be put under a category called perhaps fun or similar. Dec 20, 2017 at 20:20

In theory you could compile them if they were below the tex level, e.g. in tex/plain: You can e.g. try in some temp folder pdflatex article.cls, pdflatex will then start to compile article.cls (naturally this will gives errors).

But imho this is not a sane system (in more complicated document you will run into problems with inputs) and you should better copy example files that you want to compile in your document folder and compile there.

  • I like your answer but Heiko gave a more detailed one. I just feel that xii and friends are in a special category, but maybe I'm being picky. Dec 20, 2017 at 20:20
  • Well the files from @DavidCarlisle are certainly in a special category. But nevertheless they are not ressources. Dec 20, 2017 at 21:34

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