Section: Debian User's Manual (8)
Return to Main Contents
update-language, update-fmtutil, update-fmtlang - update
various TeX-related configuration files
This manual page explains briefly the usage of the three TeX configuration
script should not be called directly, but only via the two described links.
For a more in-depth description, please see the document TeX on Debian in
(also available as HTML and PDF).
The programs update-language and
update-fmtutil create or update the configuration files
language.dat and fmtutil.cnf, respectively.
These files define
the hyphenation patterns to be loaded into LaTeX-related
TeX formats (language.dat), and the list of formats to be created
These programs can be used either in system-wide mode if called by root, or
in a user-specific mode if called by a user without super-user privileges.
- -c DIR, --conf-dir=DIR
directory where the user-specific configuration files are looked for in
user-specific mode (default
TEXMFCONFIG/language.d for update-language
and TEXMFCONFIG/fmt.d for update-fmtutil, where TEXMFCONFIG
is usually $HOME/.texmf-config).
- -o FILE, --output-file=FILE
file to write the output to. Per default, in system-wide mode,
update-language writes to
update-fmtutil writes to
perform sanity checks on the generated config file. Don't use this
in maintainer scripts.
don't write anything to the standard output during normal operation
print a summary of the command-line usage and exit
output version information and exit
In system-wide mode, both programs merge those files
("configuration snippets") with a specific extension in the respective
configuration directories to produce the final file. These
configuration directories and extensions are language.d and
.cnf for update-language,
and fmt.d and .cnf for update-fmtutil.
In system-wide mode, these directories are those under /etc/texmf/. Both
TeX add-on packages and local administrators can add files to these
If a package that provides such snippets is removed but not purged,
including the snippet will likely break the system. To prevent the
inclusion in these cases, snippets installed by packages have to
contain a magic header:
# -_- DebPkgProvidedMaps -_-
which local administrators should not remove. From the files
with a magic header, only those files which are also listed in one of
the files in
for update-language, and
for update-fmtutil, are actually included into the final output
file. This way, local changes to the configuration can be preserved
while the package is in state 'rc' (that is, the package is removed, but its
configuration files are still present). For details about this mechanism,
package maintainers should consult the Debian TeX Policy. As a
special case, the files for JadeTeX and xmlTeX are only included if
there is already a file for the LaTeX format (see TeX on Debian
The user-specific mode provides a way for a non-admin user to override
system-wide settings. In this mode,
update-language writes to
update-fmtutil writes to
TEXMFVAR/web2c/fmtutil.cnf, where TEXMFVAR is usually
Furthermore, files present within the user-specific configuration
directories are included in addition to the files present in the
system-wide configuration directories. In case the same filename
exists in the system-wide configuration directory and the
user-specific configuration directory, the user-specific file is used
instead of the system-wide one. The user-specific configuration directories
TEXMFCONFIG/language.d for update-language and
for update-fmtutil, where TEXMFCONFIG is usually
$HOME/.texmf-config. The system-wide configuration directories have the
same names, but are located in /etc/texmf/ instead of TEXMFCONFIG.
Note that changes introduced by updates of packages are not
propagated to the user's configuration files. This has to be done by hand.
This file is generated or updated by update-language in system-wide
mode and contains a list of the hyphenation patterns loaded into
LaTeX-based formats by fmtutil-sys.
This file is generated or updated by update-fmtutil in system-wide
mode and contains a list of formats to be generated by fmtutil-sys.
Input files for update-language
Input files for update-fmtutil
Lists the file(s) installed by package in /etc/texmf/language.d/.
Lists the file(s) installed by package in /etc/texmf/fmt.d/.
- fmtutil(1), fmtutil-sys(1)
The programs actually using the generated configuration files
(language.dat and fmtutil.cnf).
- TeX on Debian Documentation
to be found in /usr/share/doc/tex-common/TeX-on-Debian.txt.gz (also
available as HTML and PDF), describing in more detail how to setup
and maintain a TeX system in Debian. It also includes details on user-specific
- Debian TeX Policy
to be found in /usr/share/doc/tex-common/Debian-TeX-Policy.txt.gz (also
available as HTML and PDF), describing the internals and the TeX Policy
established on the Debian TeX mailing-list
(firstname.lastname@example.org). Intended audience is mainly developers
packaging TeX-related resources for Debian.
a debhelper-like script for managing the installation of files into the
system-wide configuration directories; this script helps to write Debian
packages containing TeX-related resources that conform to the Debian TeX
This manual page was written by Norbert Preining <email@example.com
for the Debian distribution (and may be used by others). It was later updated
by Florent Rougon <firstname.lastname@example.org
- SEE ALSO