[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?

John Vokey vokey at uleth.ca
Sun Oct 22 21:04:16 EDT 2006


I am a devoted (some use the adjective ``slavish'', others  
``monomaniacal'') proponent of both OS X and LaTeX.  But, there is  
simply no question that the one (and only) place that Windoze users  
have it all over OS X users is MikTeX.  I can get my Windoze  
colleagues up and using LaTeX in mere minutes, and they never have to  
find and install subsequent .sty and other files, as MikTeX does that  
for them automagically.  As wonderful as i-installer is (and it is),  
it requires some hand-holding for newbies.  MacTeX is a great  
compromise, so great that I never even mention i-installer to new OS  
X LaTeX using colleagues.  I assume that by the time they will need  
it, they will be facile enough with LaTeX to grok it themselves.

Denis Chabot how now suggested a brilliant step that will make the  
compromise even less of one.  Indeed, the R (GNU's S) and CRAN  
interface for reviewing and installing new packages is simple and  
effective (indeed, one nice package for R is Sweave, which integrates  
R with LaTeX (i.e., the R-code is written into the LaTeX document,  
and the r-output, including tables and figures, replaces it in the  
LaTeX document when run through Sweave).  The analogy with R is  
almost perfect: MacTeX provides the basic installation, so all we  
need is a simple download interface (preferably from within TeXShop)  
to list current packages, and provide for the updating of packages  
and the addition of further packages.  True, CTAN does not have  
dependencies built-in as does CRAN, but as every such package usually  
lists the dependencies in the documentation, could those not be added  
(uploaded by users) to the TeXShop site (much as track titles are  
provided by iTunes users) to be added to some database (p-list, or  
other xml list?). Then, when accessed from TeXShop, if a dependency  
list is available, it is used.  Over time, most dependencies should  
be resolved.

On 22-Oct-06, at 6:00 PM, TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List wrote:

> But I can think of one way LaTeX would be a bit more user friendly. I
> don't think it is up to the people on this Mac list to make it
> happen, it would have to be a more generic effort. I'd like LaTeX
> (and especially LaTeX frontends like TeXShop  to behave more like the
> open source R statistical system does.

Please avoid sending me Word or PowerPoint attachments.
See <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/no-word-attachments.html>

-Dr. John R. Vokey

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