[OS X TeX] /usr/local/texprograms -> /Library/ActiveTeXPrograms

Robert Sekuler sekuler at brandeis.edu
Thu Nov 30 11:54:02 EST 2006

On Nov 30, 2006, at 11:11 AM, Bruno Voisin wrote:

> Personally I think the move towards having several TeX  
> distributions installed in parallel is a mistake. That seems to  
> mean more customizations to perform, more preferences to set, more  
> esoteric notions to digest for a user being faced to TeX for the  
> first time.
> It feels like making TeX more difficult for many, just to satisfy  
> the needs of a few. Who but a computer geek will need this  
> (installing, trying and switching between several different  
> distributions)? IMO the changes that are currently discussed will  
> only make TeX feel more elitist for outsiders, and deter them from  
> trying it. Ultimately that would just reinforce the opinion of TeX  
> users as geeks a bit out of touch with real life. Something in line  
> with the opinion mentioned yesterday in the thread "[OS X TeX] TeX  
> and the wild wild world out there", of TeX users "as being overly  
> precious about aesthetics".
> On the other hand, the changes that are discussed are perfectly OK,  
> and probably beneficial, so long as they can remain completely  
> transparent to the user: namely, that a user could use TeX for  
> years and have a fully functional setup without ever having to know  
> that such a thing as a TeX distribution exists, without ever having  
> to install a distribution by hand, without ever having to switch  
> between distributions. Then one could have, to paraphrase the  
> preface of the 1st edition of "LaTeX: A Document Preparation  
> System", both a comfortable family sedan that just works and fits  
> the needs of the biggest crowd, and buried inside it a racing car  
> that can be highly tuned for those that like to live on the edge.

I agree with Bruno.  Like some others on this list, I require all  
students and post-docs in my lab to use LaTeX when preparing any  
document they want me to read.  And once they try it, they like it -- 
and appreciate its benefits.

I certainly do not want to spend time and effort helping students  
over the new speed-bumps that multiple TeX distributions might  
produce. Such speed-bumps would for sure turn off potential users.   
IMy goal is to make LaTeX use as easy and painless as possible --so  
that students can get up and running with minimal pain, produce the  
documents they need, and come to value LaTeX's benefits as much as I do.


Robert Sekuler
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volen Center for Complex Systems, MS013
Brandeis University
Waltham MA 02454 USA

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