I decided to install texlive from scratch, starting from the sources, on Sierra. As a prerequisite, you need to have installed Xcode and its command line utils, otherwise you couldn’t compile anything :-)

To begin with, you need to get the sources and distribution files. Let’s create a working directory and fetch the files

Notice we aren’t pulling the precompiled binaries in Master/bin directory as we will compile them from scratch.

It will take a while to rsync to the local directory ~/scratch/texlive. Once done, enter the folder, create an “out of source” build directory, configure and build as follow:

The command make world run also the tests. In my case the pdftexdir/ttf2afm.test failed, but it wasn’t a problem for me, so I proceeded with make install as usual. Once the binaries are copied, you should find them in the Dist/bin directory. On Sierra the binaries are in:

~/scratch/texlive/Dist/bin/x86_64-apple-darwin16.3.0

Now it’s time to setup a soft link to our freshly built binaries so the installer (in Master space) can find them.

Time to run the installer with the following:

export PATH=\$PATH:/usr/local/texlive/2016/bin/x86_64-darwin