[OS X TeX] TeX is not for the faint of heart

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Tue May 4 09:27:26 EDT 2004

> Re. The reason I mentioned LyX and TeXmacs is that what you suggest, 
> in this message and in the earlier one, is like reinventing them.

I did look up LyX and I did actually download it but I haven't tried to 
open it yet. However, my /immediate/ reaction was "la mariée est trop 
belle", this is too good to be true. What is the catch? Why was your 
post the first time I saw it mentioned?

As for TeXmacs, I haven't looked it up because of what Samuel Lelièvre 

    TeXmacs is inspired by TeX, but does not use TeX as an engine.

which I don't understand. I mean what's the point? :-)

As for the rest of what you wrote, I understand and in the whole I agree 
completely except where you write of the cathedral and the bazaar. I 
like and need both. My only point was that for the rest of us who just 
want to get started, the cathedral is a must. But indeed, after a while 
some of the rest of us may venture in the bazaar and love it. If I were 
not as old as I am, and I didn't have this last book to write and this 
site to help get constructed, I would.


> As for the LaTeX documentation, it's there but hidden (in 
> /Library/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/), in a variety of formats 
> (.html, .dvi, .ps, .pdf, .txt files) and with no central repository 
> telling what's available and where to find it 
> (/Library/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/helpindex.html and 
> /Library/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/newhelpindex.html seems like two 
> separate attempts towards this aim, but they're neither comprehensive 
> nor up-to-date).
> A possibility could be to create an alias 
> /Library/Documentation/teTeX/ to this folder 
> /usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.tetex/doc/, so that at least this 
> documentation folder would be at the logical place where to look for 
> docs on Mac OS X.
> The problem with this is that the current TeX arborescence was 
> designed to be cross-platform, or in any case more with a Unix view in 
> mind than with a Mac OS view. And it is maintained by the TeX 
> "authorities" still with this Unix/Linux view, not by the Mac porters. 
> Hence it is something which cannot be really tailored for the Mac, 
> unless risking to break the cross-platform nature.
> Gerben Wierda did already an awful lot of work for us, by making the 
> installation of TeX on the Mac a breeze.
> I think that some major redesign of the TeX arborescence by the same 
> TeX "authorities" is in the process, let's see what the future brings.
> Personally I hope that someday, maybe with LaTeX 3, all this structure 
> with a base LaTeX core and a multitude of packages, several of them 
> redundant, some conflicting with each other, not always maintained 
> actively, with unexplicit names and each with its own documentation 
> system and format, will disappear. And that instead all the most 
> significant functionality will be consolidated into a single 
> monolithic LaTeX, with a consistent interface, a coherent 
> documentation of all the features, so that the user can do a one-stop 
> shopping, a one-go install, and know that everything is there at hand. 
> But such a suggestion feels like a cathedral vs. bazaar argument, and 
> I must confess I prefer the cathedral, so I'm probably not objective.
> And finally: the second edition of the LaTeX Companion 
> <http://www.awprofessional.com/title/0201362996>, to be available any 
> day now, seems to do an impressive and extensive job of testing and 
> documenting most of the significant packages around, so it might be a 
> great help. Plus "The accompanying CD-ROM contains a complete 
> plug-and-play LaTeX installation, including all the packages and 
> examples featured in the book."
> Bruno Voisin
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