[OS X TeX] MacTeX 2008?

Maarten Sneep maarten.sneep at xs4all.nl
Tue Apr 8 17:43:44 EDT 2008

On 8 apr 2008, at 23:16, Jasper Knockaert wrote:
> Maarten Sneep schreef op 08-04-2008 22:31:
>> When it is done, I guess. I think there are some milestones  
>> expected this year in the development of LuaTeX, with a first  
>> formal release at TUG2008. That is late July, and I expect that  
>> TeXLive 2008 will include a luatex release, if only to get a wider  
>> test of the application. That said, the disk image gets updated on  
>> a regular basis, and work is underway for texlive itself to support  
>> better updating. So a lot is happening, but I don't expect the  
>> texlive 2008 DVD set to be one of my birthday presents (late  
>> october).
>> Remember that a release on December 31st still counts as a 2008  
>> release...
>> Is there a particular reason you ask?
> I have always perceived the developments in the world of tex as  
> being both exciting and chaotic. There has been the ongoing and  
> somewhat unfocused effort of the LaTeX3 project (with the question  
> still open if it will arrive before Hurd), then there are the more  
> tangible results of the efforts around pdflatex/pdftex/pdfetex (I  
> never really understood what this naming is about) and the closely  
> related microtype package and probably also hyperref.

In the beginning there was tex, and the world was simple. Since then,  
new technology arrived: postscript, pdf, and tex adapted.

tex -> latex: is normal tex with a large set of macros added to aid in  
writing logically structured documents.

tex -> etex: tex with better behaviour and a minor cleanup. (e =  
extended, I think)

tex -> pdftex: produce pdf instead of dvi.

These days you only get the original if you call 'tex'

The rest is pdfetex with various macro packages (pdflatex, latex,  
context all use pdfetex underneath, even when producing dvi).

luatex is the next version of pdfetex: it is pdfetex with the  
programming language lua embedded in it. It is possible to call lua  
from tex and alter tex internals from within lua. The reason to do  
this is that some tasks that are simple in modern programming  
languages, are actually hard in tex. Lua is to overcome that. The  
advantages are that the end result is faster, easier to program, and  
therefore more reliable. Another trick is that support for zip  
archives is built into luatex (actually into lua). This means that a  
macro-package like context can be distributed as a zip archive,  
without the need for unpacking. Installing a while package becomes as  
easy as: put that file over there. There are more new tricks: full  
support for unicode and opentype, while still supporting microtype.  
See www.luatex.org for more.

Luatex is a big one, first for package writers, and then for  
distribution makers and users.

> To get better OS integration especially with respect to fonts  
> support and probably also unicode we got XeTeX which unfortunately  
> does not integrate well with the microtype developments. On the  
> packaging front there were the more or less annually TeX Live  
> distributions (that come in different flavours, MacTex being one of  
> them), the ubiquitous tetex distro which is outdated but still comes  
> with fink and macports,

teTeX is dead, including it in fink is a mistake.

> I may be the only one, but sometimes I wished there would be just a  
> "click here" button that provided me with an up-to-date (and  
> working) LaTeX distribution so now and then. MikTeX on Windows comes  
> pretty close to that.

Apparently texlive will improve on this, using ctan as a basis. MikTeX  
is working on getting the tools to run on linux and mac os X. We live  
in interesting times.


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