cannot specify project_dir-relative path for Tomcat Home?

pertains to intellij ultimate latest ga:

my understanding is that all paths specified within a project are project_dir-relative (and thus portable). I was trying to define a project_dir relative 'tomcat home' in run configs > application servers > tomcat. but:
1) specifying a relative path results in Intellij IDEA bin path being prepended
2) starting with $PROJECT_DIR$ explicitly is same as 1)
3) setting an absolute path persists across computers.

How can i specify a portable tomcat home path?

for context: though inelegant, we found it useful to keep tomcat binary in our project SVN Trunk, under $trunk/some/path/tomcat ($trunk is also project home dir)

thank you,

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Well, there isn't much sense making Tomcat home (as well as any other app server home) relative to the project home -- that's because an Application Server configuration is NOT stored in a project, but shared between all the projects on the current machine.

So, when a project is checked out to another machine, the user should create the Application Server configuration with the same name but not necessary with the same home path.
It might not help in your situation, but note that paths to Startup/Shutdown scripts in a local Tomcat run configuration are saved in the project, so if a path is customized pointing to a script under the project root then the $PROJECT_DIR$ will be substituted.

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