For testing purposes, I want to set up another version of pdftex. The standard version, residing under /usr/lib/texmf/bin/x86_64-linux/pdftex should be left untouched. I managed to compile pdftex, and I guess the right place for it is /usr/local/share/texmf/bin/x86_64-linux/, with a symlink in /usr/local/bin. How do I tell kpathsea to use this new version?

  • 1
    Perhaps do a full(ish) install of TeX under /usr/local, kpathsea and all, and switch your PATH (or run by complete path). I don't know if both versions will get messed up, for absolute certainty I'd do the building without TeX installed. Or can you use a virtual machine for the doctored TeX installation?
    – vonbrand
    Feb 11, 2013 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


This receipe worked for me, installing a new pdftex in TEXMFHOME.


## run this script in the top directory of the freshly unpacked pdftex sources
## it is assumed that TEXMF contains TEXMFHOME before the other TEXMF trees, see texmf.cnf

## build pdftex

## directory for pdftex in TEXMFHOME
mkdir -p ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux

## directory for pdftex.pool and formats in TEXMFHOME
mkdir -p ${HOME}/texmf/web2c

## bring pdftex and pool file to TEXMFHOME
cp build-pdftex/texk/web2c/pdftex ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux

## bring pdftex.pool to TEXMFHOME
cp build-pdftex/texk/web2c/pdftex.pool ${HOME}/texmf/web2c

## make a link to texmf.cnf in TEXMFHOME so the new pdftex will find it
ln -s /etc/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux/texmf.cnf

## put a link to the new pdftex that is in the PATH
ln -s ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux/pdftex ${HOME}/bin/pdftex

## let kpsetool see the new texmf.cnf and pdftex.pool

## create formats, using the new pdftex, and the ini files from the existing TeX installation
pdftex -ini -etex pdftex.ini
pdftex -ini -etex pdflatex.ini

## bring formats to TEXMFHOME
cp pdftex.fmt pdflatex.fmt ${HOME}/texmf/web2c

## make pdflatex a symlink to pdftex
ln -s ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux/pdftex ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux/pdflatex

## make pdflatex findable
ln -s ${HOME}/texmf/bin/`arch`-linux/pdflatex ${HOME}/bin/pdflatex

## tell kpsetool about the formats

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