[OS X Emacs] Re: Can't Make Doc-View Work

David Reitter david.reitter at gmail.com
Thu Mar 11 13:55:06 EST 2010

On Mar 11, 2010, at 1:26 PM, Peter Dyballa wrote:

> Am 11.03.2010 um 17:46 schrieb David Reitter:
>> what are the advantages of doc-view?
> You can look at common graphics files which are not supported by GNU Emacs (image-mode) and without needing any external applications, just some small utilities. Mac OS X has no viewers for PS, EPS, or DVI, just convertors for the first two types. Because of the need for a built-in viewer for PS, EPS, PDF, DVI doc-view was developed.
> To view DVI files, which AFAIK only TeX produces, you need dvipdfm which comes with TeX. Otherwise dvips is used, which comes with TeX as well. It produces PS output (dvipdfm produces PDF). To view PS or PDF file types just Ghostscript is needed, which is an utility no-one, presumingly, wants to miss.

Preview.app shows PS/EPS files.  Of course it converts them internally into some other representation, but that doesn't matter to the user.  And so does doc-view, by the way, which presumably converts it to a TIFF or a PNG, and it even needs Ghostscript, a tool that doesn't come with OS X.

I have long switched from LaTeX to PDFLaTeX.  Embedding files (usually just other PDFs from graphing tools such as R or OmniGraffle) is just so much more straightforward.  No messing with the old DVI files.  Very little problems with missing fonts.

I think we'd all be better off if we'd switch to something like XeTeX, triggering the re-development of the few LaTeX packages that require PostScript output.  My $0.02.

> No. Who needs this? And for what? Isn't it much easier to copy from the TeX source?! Do you copy texts from TIFF or PNG files or the SVG and bitmap files which are used in GNU Emacs to report the incorrect spelling of a button's title text? Anyway, when you install the xpdf suite you, or doc-view, can use pdftotext to extract text from the PDF file.

Okay, so then there are minimal benefits for displaying PDFs directly in Emacs rather than with Skim or Preview.
It took a while to get the interaction with Skim right (for synctex / pdfsync switching back and forth), and that would have been easier had there been an Emacs frame to do it in, but I guess the GS conversion won't let you do this sort of stuff (?)

Another useful thing could be live-updating a preview, for example when you're working on slides in LaTeX/Beamer.  But even that would be slower than pdflatex+Preview, if doc-view converts PDFs or PS or DVI files slowly with GS.

All of those points are irrelevant when you're talking about the situation on GNU/Linux.  I'm talking about more advanced middleware on OS X.

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