[OS X TeX] Three new MacTeX install packages
koch at math.uoregon.edu
Thu Nov 23 15:31:23 EST 2006
Three new MacTeX install packages are available by going to
and clicking on the link at the top of the page. The packages are
MacTeX_teTeX (based on Gerben Wierda's original distribution, 332.1 MB)
MacTeX_GWTeXLive (based on Gerben Wierda's TeX Live version, 377.4 MB)
MacTeX_TeXLive (the full TeX Live 2005 distribution, unmodified,
Each of these packages installs Ghostscript, ImageMagick, Font
GUI TeX programs, and the appropriate TeX distribution, so each contains
everything needed to run TeX on Mac OS X.
The packages have a custom install option, so for instance it is
install TeX without installing other pieces. Installing one TeX
not overwrite the others, so you can install all three distributions
The web page also contains a small program to switch from one
to another in case you want to experiment:
TeX_Switcher (256 KB)
The first of these packages is essentially the old MacTeX; the only
is an extra "Custom" button on one of the install dialogs. The other
have exactly the same look and feel.
These packages install on Intel and PowerPC, for OS X systems 10.3
In all three versions, TeX is configured to use ~/Library/texmf for
extra local files;
texhash need not be run after adding such files. Thus the current
For the moment, these packages have not been propagated to CTAN. If
download times are too slow, let me know and I'll investigate
If you are satisfied with your current distribution, there is no need
I have rushed these packages out to reassure Macintosh users that TeX on
OS X is alive and well. Gerben is working hard on his distribution
his end of support announcement when I see it); these distributions
show that the TeX experience on Mac OS X remains basically the same for
all three distributions.
XeTeX is not available in the full TeX Live version, but this is a
until texlive 2006 appears. XeTeX support in Gerben's TeX Live
on Intel but not on PowerPC (I remade the format files, but didn't
notice the trick
mentioned on today's lists to produce the missing xelatex binary for
PowerPC). I'll fix
that package in a few days.
Mysteriously, if you use TeXShop and kept your old
teTeX version around, you'll discover that XeTeX works for all three
That is because the engine script for xelatex appends the teTeX
binary path to the
end of the PATH variable, so if TeXShop doesn't find the binary in
distribution, it looks in the old one.
The other major difference is the package gtamacfonts by Thomas A.
Adam Lindsay, and Gerben Wierda, which is available in both of
but not in the full TeX Live version.
Gerben's i-Installer is installed in all three versions. It can be
used to update or
reconfigure TeX in the first two installations, but can only update
ImageMagick, and the Font Utilities in the third installation.
When Gerben installs TeX, he runs a small script to revise the PATH
and make sure that the TeX man entries are found. This script
/etc/profile, and /usr/share/misc/man.conf (or /etc/manpath.config in
10.3). All of
these packages do the same thing; indeed a copy of Gerben's script is
make the changes. The script is slightly modified for the full TeX
because the man path and binary path are slightly different in that
It is necessary to configure front end programs so they use the
distribution. Each front end program has one or more Preference items
to do this.
The three MacTeX packages introduce a mechanism which makes it
change these preferences only once, even if you later switch between
distributions. When MacTeX installs a TeX distribution, it also sets
link named "/usr/local/texprograms" pointing to the binary directory
of the currently
active distribution for the machine's processor. This symbolic link
can be used
in Preferences. For example, TeXShop has a preference listing the
path for TeX
binaries; the default value is
This value can be changed to
and then TeXShop will work for all three distributions. A README file
/Applications/TeX directory explains how to set the preferences for
programs installed by MacTeX.
To switch between distributions, it is only necessary to call
Gerben's script to
reset PATH and MAN pointers, and to reset the link /usr/local/
is what the TeX_Switcher program does.
I expect the teTeX distribution to remain stable; if significant
made, notify me and I'll remake the MacTeX package. Gerben's TeXLive
distribution will change rapidly over the next weeks and I'll
continually revise the
corresponding MacTeX package.
Finally, the full TeX Live package will be revised as soon as
out. In this case I intend that the MacTeX installation always remain
the full TeX Live
distribution with no additions. But it will be possible to add a "TeX
phase to that MacTeX for additions. At the moment it would be nice to
add gtamacfonts to such an Extras package. I hope that others take up
cause and construct such an Extras package. Others should also work
on configuration tools for the full TeX Live version.
koch at math.uoregon.edu
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