[OS X TeX] Re: End of i-Installer/i-Packages support per 1/1/2007
koch at math.uoregon.edu
Sat Nov 11 13:38:54 EST 2006
On Nov 11, 2006, at 9:28 AM, Gary L. Gray wrote:
> That is exactly my question. It doesn't seem likely that anyone will
> pick up Gerben's work and run with it and the MacTeX installer is
> also based on his work so that would no longer evolve either.
First thanks to Gerben for his work over the last six years and his
support over the next few months. We all had the same sinking feeling
in our stomachs reading his last announcement.
This need not mean the end of MacTeX because:
(This email is based on a limited knowledge of the steps Gerben has
to create a TeXLive i-Package. I'm hoping he will write to correct
this will push us along technically as we determine what should happen
Essentially the MacTeX install package is created by throwing /usr/
installing Gerben's TeX packages, and then calling an Apple Command to
automatically create a package from the new /usr/local.
Thus the MacTeX package only requires having some TeX distribution in /
as long as someone can find a way to install TeX on Mac OS X, it
easy to make a MacTeX package from it.
There are some caveats:
a) It is important that TeX search ~/Library/texmf; it should be
add files to this location without running texhash
b) The distribution should not require TEXINPUTS and other
environment variables (it can respond to such variables when called
from Terminal, but they shouldn't be required).
c) The distribution should contain both PowerPC and Intel binaries
d) The format files should be independent of processor
e) Various enhancements Gerben has requested/enabled/programmed for
Mac OS X should be included in the files, particularly binaries. I'm
of line feed conventions, spaces in file names, etc.
I once asked Karl Berry if TeXLive could be configured to support a)
and he said "sure." Karl is always polite but I gathered that my
question was naive.
TeXLive certainly supports c).
At one time, XeTeX's format files weren't processor independent. When
Jonathan Kew about that, he changed xetex to fix format files (24 hour
is a slow day for Jonathan). So I think d) isn't automatically true,
but in practice holds
for all or most tex programs.
Finally, Gerben has folded enhancements back into the standard source
I'm hoping that most of e) is now part of TeXLive.
Karl also told me that TeXLive supports installing a subset of the
full distribution. I believe a lot of Gerben's recent work consisted
of defining an
appropriate subset to mimic the teTeX distribution.
In fact, Gerben's work over the last several months has essentially
TeXLive installation satisfying all of these requirements. So as far
is concerned, we only need someone to maintain and enhance what we could
call "Gerben's configuration of TeXLive for installation on OS X." The
is that this person doesn't need to start from scratch.
(By the way, installation of TeXLive is way, way beyond my
capabilities. A "Gerben
clone" is essential. But for MacTeX, that clone needn't make an i-
maintain i-installer as long as he/she can write instructions at the
level saying "follow these steps and you'll have TeXLive on your
At any rate, if a group of users can manage to install a working TeX,
a MacTeX package from it should be quite easy.
We might want to evolve MacTeX slightly so it has a "default"
installation and a
"custom" installation. That would allow a user to install TeX without
installing ghostscript (and associated libraries) or ImageMagick (and
libraries). On the other hand, making this "fine grained" isn't in the
we should also actively search for someone to take over i-Installer.
koch at math.uoregon.edu
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