[OS X TeX] Finally we are grown up

Jeffrey Weimer weimerj at email.uah.edu
Tue Nov 21 13:16:02 EST 2006

On Nov 20, 2006, at 4:11 PM, Claus Gerhardt wrote:

As I follow this thread with great interest, I am amazed by how the  
discussions seem to oscillate between two poles - ueber Vertrauen and  
ueber Angst. This particular note sums up something for me. Forgive  
me the melodrama in my comments as a means of ueber expression ...

> My only ambition  is to convince a few other users that installing  
> TeXLive (TUG) (not any tex) is easy. In my humble opinion any  
> further support questions can be dealt with by this list in toto,  
> where we have many experts, e.g., you, and I am pretty sure that no  
> serious problems will arise.

Oh gosh, your confidence is daunting. I wish I could feel the same.  
Perhaps, I should just grow up and learn how to work with  
AppleScripts, juggle shell commands, and set environment variables so  
I can continue to use LaTeX via TeXLive.

Oh, but wait, hope is on the horizon in the form of something  
called ???? MacTex ????
Joy, joy, joy!

All I really want to do is put LaTeX into place and have it work. I  
know how to find things at CTAN in spite of the (to me) seeming lack  
of content organization. I can forgive this as a) the consequence of  
being a free, public supported package and b) my lack of knowledge  
about the inner workings of CTAN. In other words, in using LaTeX, I  
accept and will not complain that I will sometimes have work to do to  
make it work as I need it to work.

I am still a novice at best at installing and maintaining the "LaTeX  
Toolbox". What goes where? What files does what? How is this file  
installed? What is the difference between /usr/local and /usr/??? I  
know enough UNIX to damage something seriously on my machine, so I  
keep a low .profile and don't mess at this level with what is  
working. I know my anxiety will decrease as my experience level grows.

As I follow this thread, what concerns me is NOT that I should learn  
UNIX commands / Applescript / ... as a way to keep LaTeX working  
effectively, but rather a pervading sense that I might HAVE to learn  
these things as the ONLY way to have LaTeX at all!

> The question, you cited below, I would have ignored, if wouldn't  
> have known the answer right away.

IMO, a distinguishing feature of supporting a software package and  
"supporting" (ie, in words only) a software package is the ability to  
answer properly even the most banal requests for help. It is akin to  
the process of helping children understand something so they can grow  
up and be truly functional adults.


Just a concluding note ...

Having been a long-time OZTeX user on the Mac Classic, as I now come  
to realize what has been going on in the background to keep me  
PERSONALLY as a happy LaTeX user on MacOS X, I am so greatly  
appreciative to have had i-Installer right at the outset.

Herzlichen Dank Gerben Wierda! Your efforts at bringing order to the  
LaTeX->MacOSX installation process truly have kept me from going insane.

Whoever picks up the path from here (if you are listening in), please  
do not forget, people such as me do exist. We like LaTeX alot, we  
want to use LaTeX as much as possible on our MacOS X systems, and we  
still get a bit anxious about being asked to mess around at the shell/ 
Applescript/... levels just to be able to work with LaTeX.

J. J. Weimer, Chemistry / Chemical & Materials Engineering
University of Alabama in Huntsville, MSB 125, 301 Sparkman Dr
Huntsville, AL 35899                phone: 256-824-6954

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