LaTeX Broken On MacPort “texlive” Update

I spent about 4 hours today troubleshooting a stupid, stupid issue with the “texlive +full” package as provided by MacPorts, which is required to run certain GUI LaTeX editors such as TeXShop. Several days ago I ran an innocuous-looking…

preston$ sudo port sync
preston$ sudo port upgrade outdated

…and amongst many things that updated, texlive was one of them. Unfortunately, running tools such as the command-line “latex” command or GUIs such as TeXShop started giving me the following error:

This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-1.40.11 (TeX Live 2010/MacPorts 2010_0)
restricted \write18 enabled.
—! /opt/local/var/db/texmf/web2c/pdftex/pdflatex.fmt doesn’t match pdftex.pool
(Fatal format file error; I’m stymied)

After much fruitless searching and hair pulling, I stumbled upon this ticket that notes the solution as:

preston$ sudo fmtutil-sys –all

After running this, LaTeX seems to work properly again. Sheesh.

(Note to product developers: I would personally pay at least $50 for a simple, clean, stand-alone OS X app that does LaTeX really well. TeXShop and TextMate both do a good job, but I’d really like a 5-star “just works” editor that doesn’t install a bunch of system-level stuff like MacTeX. Just sayin’. 🙂 )

6 replies on “LaTeX Broken On MacPort “texlive” Update”

An alternative is the teTeX package which I’ve been using for 5 years or so with no issues after having significant issues with MacTeX. Seems to have fewer dependencies, and one of the variants eliminates dependency on X Windows. I’ve produced quite a few papers using this including a dissertation proposal with significant use of math notation.

Of course there is still the same issue of finding a good front-end editor. I’m rather partial to TextMate since I use it for just about all text editing tasks, but I’m a reformed TeXShop user. I imagine emacs has a mode (or whatever they call it) for this if you decide you hate yourself.

There is definitely a small but potentially very loyal base of users that I’m sure agree with your assessment regarding a lean OS X native app for this.

What’s the advantage of teTex over texlive? I’m not really loyal to any implementation package, but do like how “sudo port install texlive +full” (usually) provides a consistent process that I’m used to. So I just it’s more the GUIs that I’m unhappy with than anything else. Given the depth and breadth of the LaTeX community I really think a LaTeX IDE-type environment is warranted.

You should do a write-up sometime on your OS X LaTeX workflow sometime. 🙂

as to the editor, have a look at geany. it is of limited use
when relying on an editor as latex symbol look-up aid,
but simply a nice, lean front-end editor in general

It appears this error is back, but now your commend won’t fix it, i.e. texlive itself is mucked up rather than simply the install scripts. I’ll try some uninstall and reinstall tricks.


Did you by chance upgrade to Lion? If so it could also be that you need a complete recompile/reinstall. :-/ Since writing this post I switch to brew and the TeXLive distribution, a combo which has been working fine.

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