[Tex/LaTex] How to set up MacTeX so admin rights aren’t necessary


I'd like to set the permissions of /usr/local/texlive so that I don't need admin rights to update my distribution with TeX Live Manager (or tlmgr), and so on. What's the best way to do this? Are there any caveats I need to be aware of?

Kent, below, asks why I want to do this. Having started to use homebrew, their philosophy is that you don't need admin rights to install user Applications and therefore you shouldn't need them to install CLI programs. (Everything they install goes through a branch of /usr/local that has group (I think) ownership to allow this.) So ever since, requiring sudo before tlmgr update (and so on) has felt like a needless imposition.

Can you give a reason TeX Live should require only admin rights to change itself?

Best Answer

I read somewhere that one should change the owner of the texlive directory so that it does not require admin rights. I've been doing this ever since.

$ sudo chown -R myuser:mygroup /usr/local/texlive

[Inline comment by Will: In Mac OS X, on my machine with username will, I used will:admin as values for myuser:mygroup.]

The only place this ever bites me, is that every time I install a new version of TeX Live, I ask it to put symlinks in /usr/local/{bin,share/man,share/info} and I don't run the installer as root. As a result, it fails to install the symlinks and I either have to do it by hand, or redo the install as root and then update ownership.

I have been doing this successfully on Linux and Mac OS X for several years now without any problems.

So to answer your specific question, no, I cannot give a reason TeX Live should require admin rights. That said, I can think of pretty good reasons not to allow anyone to overwrite binaries you use on a shared machine.

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