[OS X TeX] diagonal arrows in figures

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Apr 20 19:16:31 EDT 2005

Le 20 avr. 05, à 23:21, Philipp Mathey a écrit :

> There is, of course, also Textures. I have never actually seen it in 
> action. How does it compare in terms of speed ?  Can it be set up to 
> work
> with Gerben Wierda's teTeX , or does it use its own TeX engine ?

Regarding the first question: on OS 9 and before, Textures used an 
assembly-language implementation of TeX, as opposed to classical 
implementations (like OzTeX, CMacTeX or DirectTeX) based on applying a 
compiler to the Web or web2c TeX source code. Hence for typesetting a 
single document it was faster, by at least a factor 2 IIRC. Details on 
the implementation were given there 
<http://www.tug.org/TUGboat/Articles/tb13-3/smith.pdf>. (Again IIRC, 
OzTeX used a Modula-2 compiler, CMacTeX a C compiler. Similarly, before 
the assembly-language route was chosen, Textures used a commercial 
Pascal compiler.)

However, for input-output tasks (such as opening and saving files) 
Textures used high-level Mac OS routines as opposed to the other 
implementations using low-level routines. And that made Textures much 
slower when processing LaTeX documents, requiring several files to be 
opened, modified, saved and closed (apparently Mac OS did a number of 
checks when manipulating files, which the low-level routines did not 
do). I realized this especially when installing pre-releases (around 
1992 or 1993) of LaTeX2e (the so-called NFSS2): IIRC, the installation 
involved processing a number of .dtx files to extract .ltx etc. files 
then compiling a format, and the whole process was maybe 10 times 
slower with Textures than with OzTeX (amounting to several hours on the 
Macs of that time, such as SE/30). And similarly when processing a book 
containing several chapters each in a separate file called via 

In any case, this is now an OS X world, and the performance of Textures 
on OS 9 does not matter really any more. Whether OS X Textures will 
ever be released is another problem. Based on the few technical details 
given at <http://www.bluesky.com/news/news-OSX.html>, some here have 
guessed that OS X Textures might be waiting for Tiger. After all that 
time, I'm feeling pessimistic. But let's hope! In any case, with the 
existence of XeTeX, TeXShop, iTeXMac, gwTeX and all the nice and free 
OS X TeX stuff around, OS X Textures will have to be really good!

And regarding the second question: no implementation detail has been 
revealed by Blue Sky TeX Systems on OS X Textures. If Textures follows 
the same path as its OS 9 ancestor, it wouldn't include gwTeX 
compatibility and would use its own TeX engine. But it might follow a 
different path instead. Let's hope too!

Bruno Voisin
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