[OS X TeX] Newbie install and font question

Gerben Wierda sherlock at rna.nl
Thu Mar 21 08:40:44 EST 2002

> I think the advice given above to someone new to TeX on OS X is rather 
> disingenuous. Who decided that pdfTeX is the default on OS X and that 
> GS is not
> extremely useful?

I stand corrected and this is not how I meant it. Sorry Tom.

I only meant it in the sense that since Mac OS X has PDF viewing 
capabilities (though very limited as you rightly point out, one needs 
Acrobat to actually enjoy most of the PDF possibilities) and in it's 
default release does not have X11 or PostScript, a pdfTeX install is 
more or less the minimum you can work with, to use TeX on Mac OS X. You 
can edit your files with TextEdit.app and display the results with 
Preview.app or Acrobat (which, let us not forget, also ships default on 
Mac OS X) and run the commands in a Terminal.app window. I was talking 
about minimum, about how Mac OS X ships by 'default'.

> My comments are not meant as a criticism of pdfTeX itself. I think 
> pdfTeX is
> a great program and I even ported it to the classic Mac OS several 
> years ago.
> If you are writing a presentation or plan to distribute a document via 
> the
> Internet pdfTeX is very useful for generating the final product. It may 
> not
> be as useful in the preliminary stages of document preparation. If I am 
> writing
> a paper or a book which will be distributed in print format I use TeX 
> and
> dvips to get the best possible Postscript output. There are still many 
> things
> one can do easily in Postscript with tex and dvips that are difficult or
> impossible with pdfTeX.

Agreed. There is a lot of PostScript trickery available. pdfTeX is still 
catching up.

Personally, I think it is not PostScript output per se, but DVI rastered 
to perfection for your resolution that is why normal TeX is still the 
best for actual printed material. But most people these days are not 
after the best typesetting result, they use TeX for a lot of other 
reasons, like it's 'support' for 'conceptual writing' wih packages like 
LATeX or ConTeXt. And their preferred output is PDF, not PS which many 
people normally cannot dispay or print, or which has to be compressed a 
lot before you can safely send it. I can write my letters and articles 
in TeX, produce PDF and send them to any windows user and more or less 
rely on the fact that their system will have a PDF viewer on board. With 
ps and dvi this is not the case.

So, let's rephrase it like this: using just pdfTeX is the 'most basic' 
(not by any means the 'preferred') installation. What you actually need, 
depends more on what you do with TeX.


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