I've just installed
texlive on Ubuntu 16.04. In my system and in online resources, I keep seeing references to
texmf, but I can't figure out what it is.
- Web search and tex.stackexchage.com search for "What is texmf?" don't turn up a definition
- It appears frequently on the main page of the texlive docs, but without any definition that I can find
- "texmf" doesn't appear anywhere in the Things with 'TeX' in the name page
- "texmf" doesn't appear anywhere on the TeX FAQ page
- It has no
- "texmf" doesn't appear anywhere on the TeX Wikipedia page
What is it and why do I keep seeing it as if I'm supposed to know what it is?
Edit: After poking around a bit, I've found the standard TeX Directory Structure at
/usr/share/texmf/ on Ubuntu 16.04. The information given in the accepted answer refers to these if you're on that system and installed TeX via
apt-get install texlive-latex-base.
texmfroughly corresponds the name of the top-level directory within a TeX Distribution.
texmfstands for TeX and Metafont. Each
texmfdirectory follows the TeX Directory Structure (TDS) scheme.
For example, a TeX Live system is organized in the following way (on Mac/Linux). There is a
texmf-localfolder, and a folder for each installed year (here 2017).
Within the 2017 folder there are a number of different
Each of these shares the same organizational structure, (TDS), but they contain different things.
texmf-distcontains all of the packages of the distribution.
texmf-configcontains configuration files, and
texmf-varcontains various other system wide files (e.g. hyphenation patterns).
If we look at
texmf-distit follows the TDS scheme and contains the following directories:
This provides a set of known directories for TeX and related programs to find things. It is designed to be cross-platform, so that all TeX Live systems will in principle have the same layout.
Furthermore, this directory structure is also used in the
texmf-localfolder (for machine-wide local additions), and also in the user level
texmffolder. See e.g.