[OS X TeX] Finally we are grown up

Peter Pagin peter.pagin at philosophy.su.se
Fri Nov 17 08:20:14 EST 2006

This seems to me a good opportunity to express once again my gratitude 
to Gerben, and to Richard and the BibDesk team and many others, 
including Herb, Bruno, Maarten, Peter and also Claus himself, for all 
the help I have had from their work in setting up and working with 
LaTeX. I know that the ease of installation with the i-installer has 
been decisive for me and several of my colleagues to move to LaTeX on OS X.


Claus Gerhardt wrote:
> One should never try to reinvent the wheel. TeXLive is supported by 
> many knowledgeable people and maintained by Karl Berry working for 
> many platforms, working perfectly by my own experience.
> Installation and configuration is superior to that offered by 
> i-Installer, requiring no command line skills, a trained chimpanzee 
> could do it. But Richard Koch will offer a one click install vehicle 
> which is perfectly alright, I might use it myself.
> i-Installer, as I tried to explain in past messages, is for my taste 
> too patronizing, checking this and checking that, telling me what it 
> is unpacking, ...,  and offering no customization in terms of install 
> folders or keeping old installations. In addition I am only getting 
> part of the cake, not the whole one, and most important, even a fairly 
> skilled tex literate, as I consider myself, feels as being treated 
> like a child who can only accept what is offered, and it all depended 
> all on just one man, Gerben.
> For most people no additional support will be necessary apart of 
> support for special packages like htlatex, but this has nothing to do 
> with the tex installation per se. If there are really major support 
> questions then these could be directed to Karl Berry I guess.
> Users who don't have broadband access, a small minority anyway, can 
> buy the TeXLive DVD for roughly $10 and install TL directly.
> Regarding your P.S., I am sure that texlive will require no support 
> for the average user, and arising questions can be dealt with in this 
> mailing list without any particular person being responsible.
> Claus
> On 17.11.2006, at 09:32, Gerben Wierda wrote:
>> On Nov 17, 2006, at 05:13, Anthony Morton wrote:
>>>> You're correct.  People will have to rely on an alternate source 
>>>> for up-to-date ghostscript/ImageMagick/etc, which means using a 
>>>> system like fink or compiling your own from source and dealing with 
>>>> dependency nightmares.  Alternately, someone could take over 
>>>> Gerben's i-Package maintainership and roll those updates into MacTeX.
>>> I've always preferred i-Installer to Fink for installing and 
>>> updating these other components - a tribute to Gerben's good work 
>>> here.  I'd like to see i-Installer keep going just for these, even 
>>> if the community moves to direct TeXLive installation for TeX 
>>> itself.  Fortunately it appears these other components don't get 
>>> updated as often, so maybe this is something we can take on without 
>>> too much effort.
>> As I have said during TUG2006, it would be perfectly doable also to 
>> produce an adapted i-Package that contains all of TeX Live easily 
>> selectable which parts you would like, even having things like 
>> 'minimum' 'full' etc. This could be done by creating an i-Package 
>> that follows the TPM's (packages in TeX Live) and it would take 
>> someone with enough perl/ruby skills approximately a week, I think. 
>> It could install in default TL locations even. BTW, the TL i-Package 
>> has lost the 'share' subdirectory that was one of the differences 
>> between teTeX and TL. It will therefore be possible to update a TL 
>> (from ISO image or DVD) with the i-Package, just by changing the 
>> i-Package instal location to wherever TL has been installed. The 
>> i-Package could be updated a few times a year giving people an easy 
>> way (with minimum download) to, say, update their binaries to the 
>> latest versions.
>> This TL-full i-Package is perfectly doable, but it is just that I am 
>> not going to do it. The main problem (apart from the fact that there 
>> are other reasons why I am quitting: mostly that 6 years of intensive 
>> support have been enough and my day job has become more taxing 
>> recently) is that a (constantly changing) texmf tree requires far 
>> more support and help. TL in itself has never focused on backward 
>> compatibility so people updating are in for surprises. E.g. recently 
>> Romanian hyphenation patterns were renamed from rohyph.tex to 
>> rohypen.tex. As soon as someone updates, the language.dat in 
>> texmf.local is out of date. Suddenly the unexpected user finds that 
>> hyphenation in Romanian just does not work anymore. Finding out that 
>> it is the change from rohyph.tex to rohyphen.tex that causes this 
>> will be difficult for most users (you can believe me on this: the 
>> population of the Mac OS X TeX list is not the same as the population 
>> of TeX on Mac OS X users) and supporting that will be time consuming.
>> Some people have wondered why I did not follow TeX Live or teTeX 
>> standards in the past years, mostly in naming the texmf trees (e.g. 
>> texmf.local instead of texmf-local). There was a very good reason for 
>> that: preventing non-configured situations to work at all. The most 
>> time you lose in remote problemshooting is when you think someone is 
>> using your configuration (and you assume a lot of things because of 
>> that) and it turns out this is not the case. Most of my choices has 
>> been made to make support by a time-constrained individual to a 
>> large, mostly non-technical, user base possible.
>> In terms of the contents of the 'basic texmf' tree I have until 
>> recently been passing on Thomas Esser's editing work there (in other 
>> words, not I but Thmas was the `filter' (more aptly named: editor)). 
>> And even my TL-subset is largely based on a mechanical translation of 
>> his results to a mapping on TL. Even today, I encounter users who do 
>> not have fast broadband connections, so my guess is that a setup 
>> where you do not need to download all to install less than a fraction 
>> is still a worthwhile proposition for some. And so is backward 
>> compatibility (more often than you expect).
>> G
>> PS. Claus, shall I redirect support for TeX on Mac OS X to you 
>> starting Jan 1 2007? After all, with a TL full install support is 
>> hardly needed, right? ;-) ;-)
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Department of Philosophy, Stockholm University
106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
tel: +46-8-162813, fax: +46-8-152226
email: peter.pagin at philosophy.su.se

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