[OS X TeX] Page origin problem with TeXLive and dvips

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Thu Feb 1 02:01:28 EST 2007

Le 31 janv. 07 à 22:28, Richard Koch a écrit :

> So now we face a choice. Should MacTeX install a completely vanilla  
> TeXLive, including the standard TeXLive paper configuration? In  
> that case, users with a4 paper may need to fix the problem  
> themselves by calling "texconfig-sys dvips paper a4" or else  
> modifying simpdftex preferences. The advantage is that we stick  
> with a "default TeXLive" and get conforming postscript recommended  
> by the Dvips manual. The disadvantage is that we need to educate  
> users who typeset with "tex and ghostscript". Another disadvantage  
> is that Gerben uses  texconfig-sys dvips paper a4", so gwTeX and  
> TeXLive would be configured differently.
> These arguments convince me that we should use "texconfig-sys paper  
> a4" followed by "texconfig-sys dvis paper a4", and let those few  
> users who worry about nonconforming postscript code reconfigure.
> By the way, it is now clear that this is not a TeXLive mistake.  
> Faced with a difficult choice, the TeXLive folks went one way. I  
> believe that the special circumstances of the Mac community (and in  
> particular the fact that we almost never print by sending a  
> postscript file directly to the printer) suggest that we should use  
> a different default configuration.
> Comments?

I read the part of the dvips doc you're referring to, and it seems  
the dvips default is not to prescribe any media size (actually paper  
size) and let the printer, to which the ps file is later sent,  
determine this size based on its default configuration.

That seems a fairly obsolete approach, in these days when people tend  
to produce more and more often electronic documents, generally PDF  
files, since in that case there is no printer to print to. Or are the  
TeX Live folks only considering the case in which PDF files are  
produced by printing to a virtual PDF printer (for example pdfwriter  
on the CUPS server at work), as is apparently the norm on Linux?

Clearly that is inadequate on OS X, where the "standard" workflow  
involves direct production of PDF files, and printing based on these  

If we adhere to the TeX Live approach, which is also the approach  
prescribed by the dvips author, then the paper size should be set in  
the configuration of ps2pdf, the script "printing" PS files to PDF  
files, instead of dvips. By I've got no idea whether that is  
technically feasible. I imagine not, since ps2pdf is a part of  
GhostScript, not TeX Live. And ps2pdf should probably not impose any  
media box, since it can also be used on arbitrary PS files, not only  
full pages.

Or should this be set at the simpdftex stage, by adding the option -- 
extradvipsopts "-t a4"? Can simpdftex be configured through a  
configuration file? (I mean, not one of these ~/. files that I  
consider evil on OS X personally.)

In any case, I still stick to my opinion that the TeX Live approach  
is wrong. If you look for example at the dvips doc, namely /usr/local/ 
texlive/2007/texmf/doc/dvips/dvips.pdf, you'll see the paper size is  
obviously wrong (no top margins at all, the text starts directly at  
the top page border).

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