[OS X TeX] (OT?) TeX and MacOSX (or what we should pretend from OSX applications).

Massimiliano Gubinelli mgubi at mac.com
Fri Dec 3 05:27:27 EST 2004

Dear all,
   Once I used the adjective "ugly" to qualify the output of a DVI 
viewer for MacOSX. I should admit that no DVI viewer whatsoever 
(MacDviX, mxdvi, xdvi) have an ugly output, indeed they output quality 
is almost the same and everdybody was satisfied by using xdvi under 
Unix or (I think) MacDvi under OS8-9. So I would like to make public 
excuses for that.

The following is a "manifesto" for a better TeX support under OSX: (it 
is long so if you want you can just skip...)

  I feel a lot unsatisfied by DVI viewers and even by PDF viewers for 
what concern the rendering of TeX's output on OSX. Apple computers have 
a price which is not comparable to other kind of machines and OSX is 
not free as Linux. From my point of view using a PowerBook G4+OSX like 
a Mac SE + OS8 or like a PC+Linux is just a waste of money. The 
computational power of G4 or G5 machines is amazing but this power is 
not used in our current TeX applications or viewers. So we compile and 
look at results at (almost) the same speed or quality of my PC+Linux of 
some year ago (using X11+mwm....). Currently available native DVI 
viewers draw fonts on screen bypassing the operating system which is 
again a wast of money. Quartz (the graphics engine of OSX) is optimized 
for the hardware and to use the vector unit inside any G4 or G5 
processors. As so it should be the natural candidate to implement 
output rendering. If people can post-process entire movies on the Mac 
why we shouldn't be able to look at our pages faster?

  I think that a common effort in understanding how to render TeX fonts 
natively under OSX would make OSX the best TeX platform around. (and 
this cannot happen using code written for other operating systems). 
This is not restricted to dvi output. Using the Quartz PDF machinery to 
look at pdf output is also a waste of computational resources since 
pdflatex embed fonts (to have device-independent pdf). The best way 
would be to force pdflatex not to embed fonts (so output is smaller, no 
font subsetting is necessary and fonts can be loaded once for all in 
the viewer). All this should have as a result that we can hope to 
modify sources and see the output almost immediately.

Just realize how inefficient are our current setups....


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