[OS X TeX] Kile's out, Texmaker's in

Kevin Walzer kevin at wordtechcommunications.com
Fri Apr 2 00:04:49 EST 2004

I wanted to give the list an update on my progress in building a useful 
package of Kile, the KDE Latex editor, on OS X.

Basically, I decided that three gigabytes of overhead (the supporting 
KDE libraries) was not worth it and was prepared to abandon the 
project. Then, I discovered another program called Texmaker, written by 
the original developer of Kile, Pascal Brachet. He has developed a pure 
Qt/Trolltech application that is similar in functionality to Kile, but 
only requires a Qt installation to run (<200 megabytes, installed in 
the /Developer directory; not small, but certainly less overhead than 

Building Texmaker was not too difficult, although I had to tweak the 
install instructions a bit to get a nice, clean double-clickable app. 
Here's a screenshot:


I'm currently putting the program through its paces so I can document 
any quirks with it. It seems to have fewer than Kile, i.e. the embedded 
document viewers like Kghostview and KDVI that did not get ported to OS 
X successfully (they have too many X11 dependencies). Regardless, I 
want to be confident of how the program works before I work on putting 
together a package.

If you're adventurous, here are a couple of sites to check out:


This is the home page for Texmaker where you can download the source 
code. The site has minimal documentation. The source code comes with a 
shell script to install on OS X; this did not work for me because it 
looks for a non-threaded version of Qt. The script did install the help 
files, icons, etc. in the proper directory, which I couldn't get to 
work at first. But if you have a threaded version of Qt installed, try 

cd /path/to/texmaker
qmake -project -macx
qmake -o Makefile texmaker.pro

This should give you a working application without a nice icon; it's a 

If you want to get Qt, you have a couple of options. The painful option 
is to go to http://www.trolltech.com and download the free/GPL'ed 
version of Qt for Mac OS X and build it yourself. Be prepared to let 
your machine chug overnight; it takes hours and hours to build.

Another option is to visit this site:


This gentleman is a student who has assembled a bunch of Qt-based 
applications (mostly scientific data analysis), and also Qt itself, 
which can be installed via the normal OS X installer. It's extremely 
helpful; downloading the Qt installer and running everything takes 
about 15 minutes. He is also working on a package of Texmaker (in fact, 
this is where I learned about the program), though it isn't ready yet. 
I'm doing my own package rather than simply referring people to his 
site for Texmaker because he doesn't do much with documentation. This 
project is a way for me to improve my skills with LaTex as well as 
learn more about programming and application packaging, which is why I 
will invest a lot of time in documenting things. (The developer of 
Texmaker doesn't provide much more than a basic LaTex reference, which 
is helpful but doesn't introduce you to the application or look at any 
Mac-specific issues.) When my package is ready, I'll put up an 
installer, web page with FAQ's, and perhaps even set up a mailing list 
if there's interest (I run about a dozen mailing/announcement lists 
with Macjordomo from my server.)

Based on my limited experience so far, Texmaker seems like a nice 
tool--a little more lightweight than Kile but certainly full-featured. 
Again, it's a Qt application, so there will be no mistaking it for a 
Cocoa app, but it seems well put together; the interface is pretty easy 
to grasp, at least so far. At the very least, I'm finding it more 
intuitive than Lyx/Qt, which feels pretty clunky by comparison.

I hope this is of interest to folks. It will be nice to have another 
free GPL'ed LaTeX tool on Mac OS.


Kevin Walzer, Ph.D.
WordTech Communications -- A New Paradigm of Poetry
mailto:kevin at wordtechcommunications.com

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