[OS X TeX] Re: Font tools

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Tue Jun 1 04:08:11 EDT 2004

> Gerben Wierda wrote:
>> It would be nice of more people would write i-Packages. It is not that
>> difficult.
> I have an old colleague and friend, mac fanatic, whom I am trying to get
> involved in OpenSource. Contrary to me, he has written code (in C++) but
> when I tried to get him interested in writing panels such as Latex and
> Matris panels in TeXshop, thinking that would be a /finite/ task, he
> almost swore he would never ever talk to me again. Eventually, he showed
> me an article in MacTech in which Cocoa was said to be quite a bit less
> than friendly or whatever.
> How about i-packages? Is there a reference somewhere on how to do this
> and what it involves that I could recommend he read? (I don't want no
> trouble.)

There is a learning curve. As there is for Cocoa. Remember Alan Perlis and
the lollipop ;-) (I always thought that quote was from Knuth, but
according to a page I found it isn't) Not as steep a curve, but the
documentation such as there is is not written for teaching purposes, so
you need to get it from me.

It seems you and your friend (given his somewhat explosive nature) better
not get involved until the process has been documented better and maybe
there is a GUI tool for it. For those who are interested in doing some
reverse engineering:

The process itself is simple. You need to create a basic property list for
the package, and put the stuff (like configure scripts, bzipped tar
archives with the software) in a directory with .ii2 extension and then
call the provided script with both the name of the .ii2 directory and the
basic property list. The script then creates a new property list inside
the .ii2 directory which becomes the package table of contents.

The problem is writing the basic property list. For the simplest packages,
they are about 800 bytes (very small, very simple, just containing a few
basic items like the default URL, the install location, if it is
relocatable, if it needs authentication, etc.), for a package like TeX
which is horrendously complicated with sets, parts, dependencies inside
and outside, it is 13kB.

The basic source code for my i-Packages can be downloaded from my
SourceForge site. Comes with Makefiles galore.

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