[OS X TeX] Recommendations for downloading LaTEX

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Thu Jan 27 11:22:04 EST 2005

On 27 jan 2005, at 16:55, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> The problem is just that LaTeX is big, and there's nothing that can be 
> done against it. Over the years many people have written extensions 
> for it (i.e. packages providing additional functionality or 
> formatting), and the addition of most of them comes up to tens of 
> megabytes, if not hundreds. Compare with the TeXLive CDs (several of 
> them), which try to gather practically everything TeX-wise.

The complete TeXLive DVD is 7.27 GB. Yes, that's big - even on 
broadband - but presumably it is also complete, as that includes all of 

[. . .]

> So please believe us: trust i-Installer, and install TeX with it. You 
> can then configure OzTeX to use this TeX installation and packages, as 
> explained in the OzTeX documentation, so that you'll be able to 
> benefit from a larger range of packages beyond the above selection, 
> and you'll also be able to use from within OzTeX additional tools like 
> pdfTeX; or install and use other front-ends like TeXShop, iTeXMac, 
> CMacTeX.

IIRC, OzTeX without additional help does not include pdftex, and 
therefore requires dvi -> ps -> pdf to produce stuff to give to others. 
OTOH, to get started and get a feel for LaTeX, you could do worse than 
to start off with OzTeX, although it probably is a _minimal_ system, 
and more advanced stuff will be missing (this may or may not be a 
problem, depending on what you use LaTeX for).

For years a complete LaTeX installation was defined by what was 
described in the LaTeX Companion. teTeX fulfils that role admirably, 
and with the new edition of TLC, TeXLive & teTeX will probably continue 
to be the benchmark system for a usable, reasonably complete TeX 
install. No matter how you deal with that, it is a ~120 MB download. A 
complete CTAN/TeXLive install is really big, and I cannot imagine 
anyone truly needs that.

> i-Installer's TeX, by being based on teTeX, the standard installation 
> of TeX under Linux and also the basis of MikTeX, a common TeX under 
> Windows, is as close to cross-platform as can get.

(I think this formulation is confusing: MikTeX is a Windows TeX 
installation, but it isn't based on teTeX, afaik. They have made their 
own choices, although their choices happen to be largely the same. One 
difference is that MikTeX offers three levels of installation, minimal, 
standard, and complete). Both are completely compatible (I'm talking 
about MikTeX standard and teTeX here). So yes, i-Installer TeX, MikTeX 
standard and teTeX provide a cross platform compatible TeX environment.


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