Q: how can I get pdf-tools to work simultaneously on OSX and Linux?

I keep my .emacs.d directory synced over Dropbox, and share it between machines running OSX and Linux (Fedora and Ubuntu). I got pdf-tools off of melpa and successfully installed it on OSX.

The problem is that pdf-tools creates an executable (epdfinfo) in its melpa directory. The executable it generates on OSX is not usable on the Linux machines (and I presume vice versa).

How can I get pdf-tools to play nice across the different systems? Can I (should I) generate another executable on the Linux machines to store in the same directory, and if so, how?

The nuclear option, I believe, is to remove the melpa package, go old school, and install pdf-tools by hand -- but do it twice, once for OSX, and once for the Linux systems, and then do some system checking at startup to see which one to use. That seems like a lot of fuss.

1 Answer 1


I guess one option is to add a .gitignore which prevents Git from tracking that executable. The downside of course is that it will force you to re-build that executable on every machine.

Another is to set pdf-info-epdfinfo-program to a filename that includes some system info, such as (expand-file-name (concat "epdfinfo-" system-type) ...) and then to rename those executables accordingly. You'll probably also want to adjust the above code since system-type can be gnu/linux where the slash is rather inconvenient.

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