[OS X TeX] Finally we are grown up

Claus Gerhardt gerhardt at math.uni-heidelberg.de
Tue Nov 21 14:46:16 EST 2006

In the past week or two, I learnt that installing  and configuring  
TeXLive (TUG) is no-brainer due to the excellent installer script.  
The installation guide is very well written and everybody who knows  
how to use a keyboard, can read, and is not afraid of facing a  
terminal window could have the same experience as I had.

The only slightly delicate situation arises when the tex path has to  
be set before the configuration can take place, because of a prior  
tex installation, where the installer has set the tex path system  
wide in /private/etc/profile (for simplicity I am only considering  
the bash shell).

Before one can set the new tex path one first has to get rid of the  
system wide tex path. This is the only point where one could do  
damage, if one doesn't know what is going on. However, if someone  
knowledgeable tells you how to either change the system wide tex path  
setting or how it will be ignored by a simple provision in your  
local .profile file, then it will be a no-brainer too.

Installing TeXLive on a system, where no system wide tex path exists,  
would be a no-brainer even without any coaching, or with minimal  
coaching like the advice to add the two lines

   export PATH

at the end of ~/.profile, where i386 has to be replaced by powerpc,  
if you have a PowerPC and not an intelMac.

This is the tex path for TeXLive 2005. Should you install TeXLive  
2006 next year, then you would simply have to replace 2005 by 2006.  
In case you kept the folder 2005, what I would recommend, then you  
could simply switch back to 2005 by adjusting your local path.

Using this exact tex path, then one wouldn't need any applescript for  
creating a symlink in /usr/local. The only symlink that might be  
necessary is from ~/Library/texmf to ~/texmf. I offer an applescript  
application for doing this, no password is needed, and even if you  
intentionally would try to misuse it, it couldn't do any damage.

Of course, I know intelligent people who would flatly refuse reading  
a few pages in the installation guide or my recipe  and try to  
install TeXLive (TUG), however, none of these use tex. I actually  
know only one tex user, an excellent  mathematician, who would refuse  
following my suggestion, but this due to his disinterest in technical  
non mathematical problems.

All of my grad students would certainly agree calling it a no-brainer  
and they are not tex or unix experts, but simply open minded  
intelligent young men.

This will be my last remarks with respect to installing TeXLive  
(TUG). Very soon Richard Koch's MacTeX will offer a one click  
installation vehicle.


On Nov 21, 2006, at 19:16, Jeffrey Weimer wrote:

> 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!
> Summary
> 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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