changing the working directory

This doesn't sound right. What kind of tex build is ubuntu

    > using? I thought just about everything now (including
    > miktex) was based on tetex with kpathsea. I don't have an
    > ubuntu handy to try, but a little googling shows that tetex
    > is offered. Is it some sort of stripped-down version?

It doesn't look like I have it either on my ubuntu system

peds-pc311:~> uname -a
Linux peds-pc311 2.6.10-5-386 #1 Thu Aug 18 22:23:56 UTC 2005 i686
peds-pc311:~> latex --version
e-TeX (Web2C 7.4.5) 3.14159-2.1
kpathsea version 3.4.5
Copyright (C) 1997-2003 The NTS Team.
Kpathsea is copyright (C) 1997-2003 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
There is NO warranty. Redistribution of this software is
covered by the terms of both the e-TeX copyright and
the GNU General Public License.
For more information about these matters, see the files
named COPYING and the e-TeX source.
Primary author of e-TeX: The NTS Team.
Kpathsea written by Karl Berry and others.

peds-pc311:~> latex --help|grep directory