[OS X TeX] Re: Simple(?) MacTeX question

Rowland McDonnell rjmm-lists1 at fireflyuk.net
Mon Sep 11 22:45:19 EDT 2006

> On 11-sep-2006, at 6:55, Rowland McDonnell wrote:
> >> Re: list of things installed by MacTeX: Go to the MacTeX site,
> >>
> >>   www.tug.org/mactex
> >>
> >> where there is a link which gives a list of everything MacTeX
> >> installs.
> >
> > Well, yes, I can see that.  I don't want a list of what's
> > installed: I want a list of what it's all *for*.
> >
> > Some of the software, I either know about or can work out for
> > myself. The rest of it?  I dunno, and that's the problem.
> >
> >> Basically,
> >> this list is
> >
> > Yes, I've seen the list, but it's not terribly informative.
> Here is that list again. I've added some notes about what it is, and  
> why it is included, at least as far as I know. Edit: after writing  
> this, and reading the rest of my mail, I see that many have added  
> already.

Yes, and with this help and help from others, I'm getting the hang of
things nicely.  Cheers!

> TeX, installed with options Full, 2005 x86/ppc
> - The core of TeX, the engines (tex, pdftex, pdfetex, …), the style  
> and class files, documentation and configuration files. Also included  
> tex4ht (http://www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~gurari/TeX4ht/mn.html) an  
> excelent tool to convert tex into various xml/html based formats,  
> including openoffice, which may be a practical step in a conversion  
> to MS Word, should the need arise. It can convert maths into mathml.

Gotcha - thanks (the extras is what I'd have to look up elsewhere - not
a problem with the TeX side of things because I mostly understand it,
but it's handy that you put this in).

> FontForge and Fondu Mac Font Tools
> - Needed to convert the Latin Modern fonts into Mac OS X compatible  
> font packages. This is done during the i-Installer run, and (AFAIK)  
> not during the MacTeX install run. I don't think the Mac OS X Gui  
> Latin Modern fonts get installed with MacTeX. Can someone confirm?

Aha!  Thanks!

Is there any benefit for me in having these available in the usual Mac
GUI?  I can't see much, if any - I don't really use Mac GUI founts for
anything except displaying information on screen, and I speak one
language only, so the only accent I really `need' is a dieresis.

> CM-Super
> - Outline versions of the Computer Modern fonts in T1 and some other  
> encodings, including Cyrillic.

Okay - but they don't `just work'.  I've typeset using EC and TeXShop
fired up Metafont to build the required bitmaps.

Any idea how to configure things so that CM-Super works as one would

> CB Greek
> - Greek fonts
> MusixTeX
> - Music typesetter
> ConTeXt updater
> - The latest version of Context, the teTeX version is rather old. I  
> assume this is the stable release, not the beta.
> LaTeX updater
> - Same for the LaTeX Macro package

Okay - straightforward enough.

> PNGLibrary
> - Needed for reading png files by one of the next packages (?). No  
> user callable tools are installed by this package.
> Ghostscript 8
> - GhostScript, needed to convert postscript to pdf. Needed by TeXShop  
> when using latex + dvips + ghostscript for compatibility with  
> pstricks or eps figures (i.e. when _not_ using pdf(la)tex). Under  
> tiger you could (theoretically) live without it, but installation is  
> recommended.
> ImageMagick, with Freetype2, and libwmf
> - conversion tools for a long list of bitmapped formats. Useful when  
> including formats that are not natively supported, like Tiff.

Yes, but in a world where we get GraphicConverter pre-installed on our
new Macs, who needs a command line tool for that job?  I've found out
from elsewhere: they're there for automatic on the fly conversions, and
they are mediated by the contents of your TeX input file and whether or
not TeX is allowed to run other programs.

> XeTeX
> - Exciting new development in the TeX engine that can directly use  
> fonts available to the OS, without configuration.
> >> Actually ImageMagick is required for only one reason (!!). PdfTeX
> >> cannot accept tif files directly. However, the default TeXShop
> >> template has TeX code which says "if you find a tif file, call
> >> ImageMagick to convert it to a png file, and then use that png
> >> file." (You'll find this line near the top of the header.) Of
> >> course Preview can also convert tif to png, but it is useful to do
> >> it automatically during typesetting.
> >
> > Righto - I see.  That's the sort of thing I need to learn about.
> >
> > Is there documentation about this?  I'd rather not have conversions
> > done `behind my back' like that, and - well, I'm finding it quite
> > tricky to find out what happens when you're using TeXShop.
> There are two questions here, and I'll try my best at both:
> Q: "How do I prevent automatic conversion of image files"
> A: Make sure the image is available in a format that is directly  
> supported.

No, that's not the answer: the answer is `Don't use the special LaTeX
commands in your document that enable automatic conversion'.  I don't
want anything fancy kicking in when I'm not expecting it.  Turning it
off is what I want - I don't want a `Well, this will make sure it never
activates' solution, because such solutions are always unreliable.
Richard Koch has explained it all very nicely in a private email.

> For pdfTeX these are: pdf, jpg, png and metapost output.  
> The first three types serve different purposes: vector art (Graphs,  
> Illustrator drawings), photographs, and computer generated bitmapped  
> images (graphs if you have to turn them into bitmaps because of an  
> overload of hidden lines). The last format is a TeX-equivalent  
> programming language if you want to draw in a non-wysiwyg fashion,  
> Google for it if you're interested.

Righto.  Ta.

> For classic LaTeX (TeX+GhostScript) afaik it is eps only. Convert can  
> be used to translate bitmapped formats into eps, but be sure to turn  
> them into level 2 files (level 2 postscript supports a few common  
> file formats, so all you get is a small wrapper around the original  
> file, level 1 PS files of bitmap images tend to be a lot larger).
> Q: "How do I figure out what TeXShop does when I press the 'LaTeX'  
> button"
> A: That can be somewhat tricky. The core tool that gets called when  
> pressing the 'pdflatex' button is 'pdflatex filename', from the  
> directory where 'filename' lives.
> The additional commandline options can be found in the preferences  
> (Preferences -> Engine). If the shell-escape is not added to the  
> command-line, then TeX operates in a fairly secure mode, and cannot  
> call other command-line tools. If shell-escape is enabled, then TeX  
> can call other tools (allowing for automagic conversion of graphics  
> files when needed), but this may compromise security.
> Some tools use shell scripts to get their job done. These live either  
> in the application bundle or in ~/Library/TeXShop/Engines. Open them  
> in a text editor to see what command-line tools they call.

Gotcha.  This is all turning out to be a good deal more straightforward
and less scary than it seemed at first.

> > I haven't used i-installer and I won't use it if I can possibly
> > avoid doing so (I can't find out what it does before it does it).
> Paranoia can be a good thing. 

This is not paranoia: it's me taking the steps needed for a better and
easier life.

>However, it is my opinion that you're  
> missing out on a great deal of things,

Yes, hours of wasted download time and incomprehensible software with
rotten documentation doing unknown things to my computer - pure headache
for no gain, that's what I'm missing out on.  I won't go near
i-installer again, unless someone first shows me some decent
documentation for it.  Last time I looked, the documentation was as
hopeless as ever.

> amongst which a nice interface  

To my mind, i-installer's user interface is exceptionally horrible, and
the documentation is hopeless.  I simply cannot figure out what
i-installer's going to do in response to manipulating the UI, so I won't
use it at all.  Paranoia?  I don't think so - I think it's just `not
being stupid with my computer'.

> where you can add, activate and deactivae map files (i.e. the updmap  
> configuration you asked about on c.t.t.).

You are wrong about what I can do with i-installer.  I cannot use it as
you describe, since I do not understand its user interface and the
documentation does not enable me to understand what I would need to
understand to perform that task with any degree of intelligence on my

I also strongly suspect that i-installer would be completely
inapplicable for the job I have in hand: shifting my `extra fount'
installations over to MacTeX from my existing CMacTeX/OzTeX

i-installer is also a much more unreliable method of working that
writing the config files by hand and keeping them all in the one place.
I want stability, reliability, and ease of use.  Because of that, I
intend to write text files by hand rather than go via a hellishly
confusing GUI fronting a badly documented `intelligent' installer.

A much better UI for activating and deactivating map files is a text
editor.  Maintain a text configuration file by hand and keep it
somewhere safe where it won't be molested by any `intelligent' installer
or other automation advertised to make life `easier' - that's the
ticket.  Just common sense if you ask me.  My experience with all this
`Makes you life easier' automation is that *ALL* of it has flaws - what
you get is something that works out easier just so long as you want to
work the way the software designers want you to work (which is anathema
to me: my computers will work as I want to, not the other way round),
and also just so long as it doesn't make a mistake - which, if you use
it for any length of time, it certainly will do.  No, not for me: I'll
do it the low stress, high reliablity way.

Thanks once again,
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