[OS X TeX] Moving to OS X finally

Joachim Kock jkock at start.no
Wed Sep 29 22:55:17 EDT 2004

On Sep 29, 2004, at 2:31 PM, Dorman, David wrote:

> After 5 years I'm being upgraded to a new
> computer with System OSX. Presently I use OzTeX with Alpha as my
> editor. Would it be best to stick with OzTeX or is there something
> better for OSX? And Alpha does not work on OSX as far as I know. What
> editor do you recommend?

AlphaX works very well in OSX --- take the most recent release from


During the first couple of years with OSX, there was no Alpha running
natively, and many Alpha/OzTeX useres switched to TeXShop during this
period.  TeXShop was out very early, touted the advantage of pdf (native
graphics format in OSX), and has a very clean interface to a fullblown unix
tex installation (e.g. Gerben Wierda's tetex distribution).  Quite a
natural choice for people used to the smooth Alpha/OzTeX combination.

Nowadays the situation is somewhat different: AlphaX is out, with the same
rich editing features and TeX mode features as before, and you can run the
Alpha/OzTeX combination just like in the old days.  For the beginner, Alpha
can be a little overwhelming with all its features and settings, but if you
are already an Alpha user then hopefully you see all these features and
settings as an advantage.

Furthermore a third combination is possible, and highly recommended, giving
you the best of two worlds: you can control the fullblown unix tex from
within AlphaX, and use an external viewer.  Then the output messages from
tex rolls down in a special Alpha window just as they would roll down in a
terminal or in the OzTeX console, and an external pdf viewer like TeXShop
is spawned when the tex run is complete.  The advantage of this setup is
that as much as possible takes place inside Alpha, where all your favourite
keyboard shortcuts work; you can have very close interaction with tex;
you can script and automatise; and Tcl developers invent fancy tricks and 
automatisation features not seen in other tex frontends.

(I try hard to be objective but I'm afraid I can't hide my enthusiasm...)


("Joseph C. Slater" <joseph.slater at wright.edu>'s short response: 

  > Define better, otherwise this is quite subjective.

is of course also very useful advice for somebody switching to OSX...)

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