pdflatex was giving this error:

Error: pdflatex (file pdftex.cfg): cannot open config file
==> Fatal error occurred, the output PDF file is not finished!

This was on a linux system, with tetex installed from rpms, so was puzzling.
Turns out some users had TEXINPUTS set. As it was set /usr/share/texmf/tex, latex worked ok, but pdflatex bombed. At least was easy to fix!

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