[OS X TeX] Three new MacTeX install packages

Richard Koch 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,  
596.4 MB)

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  
possible to
install TeX without installing other pieces. Installing one TeX  
distribution does
not overwrite the others, so you can install all three distributions
and experiment.

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  
two packages
have exactly the same look and feel.

These packages install on Intel and PowerPC, for OS X systems 10.3  
and higher.

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  
is unchanged.

For the moment, these packages have not been propagated to CTAN. If
download times are too slow, let me know and I'll investigate  
alternate sites.

If you are satisfied with your current distribution, there is no need  
to upgrade.

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  
(I'll believe
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  
temporary problem
until texlive 2006 appears. XeTeX support in Gerben's TeX Live  
version works
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  
the new
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  
Gerben's distributions
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  
modifies /etc/csh.login,
/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  
used to
make the changes. The script is slightly modified for the full TeX  
Live installation
because the man path and binary path are slightly different in that  

It is necessary to configure front end programs so they use the  
correct TeX
distribution. Each front end program has one or more Preference items  
to do this.
The three MacTeX packages introduce a mechanism which makes it  
possible to
change these preferences only once, even if you later switch between
distributions. When MacTeX installs a TeX distribution, it also sets  
a symbolic
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  
in the
/Applications/TeX directory explains how to set the preferences for  
all GUI
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/ 
texprograms. That
is what the TeX_Switcher program does.


I expect the teTeX distribution to remain stable; if significant  
changes are
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  
texlive2006 comes
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  
Extras" install
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.

Dick Koch
koch at math.uoregon.edu

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