[OS X TeX] xdvi and/or acrobat reader with darwin ports emacs

Chris Skeels Chris.Skeels at unimelb.edu.au
Sun Jan 23 03:31:08 EST 2005

On Jan 23, 2005, at 6:05 PM, Will Robertson wrote:

> On 23 Jan 2005, at 4:58 PM, Chris Skeels wrote:
>> On Jan 23, 2005, at 10:26 AM, Curtis Clifton wrote:
>>> But I don't understand why what is under the hood makes any  
>>> difference whatsoever, beyond your commercial interest, other than  
>>> speed.
>> With all due respect, your understanding not withstanding, such a  
>> snide response is completely out of order and sullies this list!
> I agree with Curtis on this, actually. I didn't find his response  
> snide, but email is a tricky medium over which to gain understanding.

I thought the repeated shots at Tom (there were two) over a commercial  
interest were snide and uncalled for and, more importantly, were a  
distraction from the point Tom was making.  In addition to his  
shareware (which is cheap, but even if it wasn't wouldn't be evil in  
any event), he also provides some free products and wonderful support  
(the few times I have availed myself of it).  The discussion gained  
nothing from the comments, but then it gains nothing from these either  
and so I will let it rest there.

>>> So that is my question:  For DVI previewing, aside from speed, what  
>>> are the differences in _user visible features_ between MacDviX and  
>>> TeXniscope?
>> The simple fact of the matter is that pdftex will not always handle  
>> things that can be dealt with via a dvips type route and so all of  
>> those issues carry over immediately.
> But TeXniscope has nothing to do with pdftex! Its intended use was  
> originally to preview DVI documents, which most certainly don't need  
> to come from pdftex. (The fact that it's turned into an ace pdf viewer  
> is simply a happy coincidence.)

Me being sloppy, you are correct.  For the record, it uses an embedded  
version of dvipdfmx to convert dvi into pdf or, in extremus, dvipdf  
using an external distiller.  My experience is that the things I have  
seen it bogged down by are exactly the same things that cause issues  
for pdftex, specifically eps graphics.  It may be argued that one  
should simply convert the graphics to pdf, but why would you want to do  
that if you are working with dvi to begin with?

>> Also, to dismiss the speed issue is extremely disingenuous.  I am a  
>> very big fan of TeXniscope but I have also seen moderately sized  
>> documents (35 pages), with a few graphs in them, clog it up to the  
>> point of being unusable relative to a "true dvi previewer".
> In that case, this is one of the points I was interested in. I assume  
> you mean that it's slow to load up the documents, rather than to  
> browse them -- I've found pdf navigation in TeXniscope to be as good  
> as in Preview.app (as it should be), except for the obvious lack of  
> searching etc. which will be fixed in Mac OS X 10.4.

Your assumption is again correct.  Once the document has been conerted  
to pdf TeXniscope is fabulous.  Most of my experience, however, has  
been in experimenting with synchronization between TeXniscope and Alpha  
(Max and Joachim have done a great job).  For non-trivial documents  
TeXniscope can be simply unusable because the conversion is slow.  One  
consequence of this is that communication between the two programs  
seemed to break down, although that may have been a consequence of my  
impatience leading me to queue up a few instructions.

>>> It's a legitimate question and simple saying the TeXniscope is not a  
>>> "true dvi previewer" is not an answer.
>> In a sense it is, although maybe not for someone whose life is built  
>> around pdftex.  Not everybody's is and the differences can be quite  
>> marked.
> I reiterate, it has nothing to do with pdftex.

You were right both times :-)

> If it is as slow as you claim converting dvi then it is certainly an  
> excuse to want to use xdvi.
> Another question might be: how does its speed compare with MacXDvi?
> From my long-ago experience, I would prefer to use TeXniscope over  
> that.

I've never used xdvi, but I found MacDviX and OzTeX both *much* faster  
at providing output that could be viewed from a dvi source containing  
eps graphics, at least those I was working with (which were just papers  
I hppened to be working on, there was nothing special about them).  And  
both provide at least reverse searching of documents (dvi to source).

As a final comment, let me reiterate that I think TeXniscope is  
fantastic and it has tremendous potential.  But even on a reasonably  
quick machine (2.5Ghz G5) the internal conversion of dvi files to  
something else can leave it at a very substantial speed disadvantage  
relative to the dvi previewers that I compared it with.

Cheers, Chris.

Dr CL Skeels                                      Email:  
Chris.Skeels at unimelb.edu.au
Department of Economics                Tel:      +61-3-8344 3783
The University of Melbourne            Fax:     +61-3-8344 6899
VIC 3010

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