Andrew Benton b3nton at
Mon Aug 23 06:51:07 PDT 2010

On 16/08/10 17:23, Pierre Lorenzon wrote:
> Hi,
> From: Andrew Benton<b3nton at>
> Subject: Latex
> Date: Mon, 16 Aug 2010 12:07:07 +0100
>> Hello World!
>> I read an interesting article about typesetting with Latex so I thought
>> I'd try it out. I've spent a few days working on texlive, I can install
>    I have been working with LaTeX for almost 20 years hence I
>    can confirm that it is very powerful.
>> it but it doesn't work. Does anyone know of a guide to installing
>    Hum ! can you be more precise than "it does not work ?"

Sure, when I try to use pdftex to turn a .tex file into a .pdf it says:

andy:~$ pdftex example1.tex
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-1.40.10 (Web2C 2009)

kpathsea: Running mktexfmt pdftex.fmt
I can't find the format file `pdftex.fmt'!

Googling on that led me to a pdftex manual.pdf which said I should 
generate the format files with:
pdftex -ini -fmt=pdftex plain \\dump
However, when I try that I get:
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-1.40.10 (Web2C 2009) (INITEX)
! I can't find file `plain'.
<*> plain
(Press Enter to retry, or Control-D to exit)
Please type another input file name:

So I gave up. I was not impressed.

>    In principal, the texlive installation is straight forward and
>    it should work once you have installed it. Anyway it does not
>    mean that you are able to write a correct LaTeX code but at
>    least that the LaTeX compiler starts. Does it or not ?
>    Learning the language itself is another problem but not
>    covered by the question of the texlive installation.
>> texlive? There's an interesting page in the CBLFS wiki
>> but it's a couple of years old and some of the links are dead. So I've
>> given up on texlive for now and thought I'd try tetex. Does anyone know
>> where I can download tetex? Or is that as difficult as texlive?
>    In my opinion it won't be easier. Indeed to install teTeX you
>    have to compile the whole stuff. Moreover I would not
>    recommend the use of teTeX since this system is no longer
>    maintained by its developper precisely because of the
>    presence of texlive who provides all the features previously
>    provided by teTeX.

I couldn't get tetex to compile; it uses getline for the name of a 
function which clashes with glibc. I couldn't get past that. At least 
texlive compiles.

>    Anyway I have installed several generations of LFS on my
>    systems and texlives everywhere and it always works. Hence if
>    you have a quite standard LFS, texlive should install and work
>    on your system. Anyway if you encounter problems do not
>    hesitate to send me a more precise description of the
>    problems and I'll try to help you.

Do you know how to create the pdftex.fmt file it is looking for?


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