[OS X TeX] Questions on MacTex installation

Richard Koch koch at math.uoregon.edu
Wed Mar 5 18:04:35 EST 2008


I maintain most of these packages; Herbert Schultz maintains  
MacTeXtras. Let me reply.

On Mar 5, 2008, at 12:43 PM, Christoph Hoh wrote:

> Dear list members,
> I have been using Tex on my Mac for a while now. Today I checked the  
> website again and found out that there are different other downloads  
> available. After reading most of the explanations regarding  
> available downloads, several things are still not clear to me:
> 1) What is the difference between the MacTeX-Additions (126.1 MB)  
> and the MacTeXtras (280 MB) - except the file size?
>   Is all the software of the MacTeX-Additions included in the  
> MacTeXtras? Is all the software of the Additions and Extras included  
> in the MacTeX-2007 package?

The two (almost) orthogonal packages are MacTeX and MacTeXtras. MacTeX  
has TeX Live, Ghostscript, Font Utilities, ImageMagick, and a few GUI  
programs. MacTeXtras has alternate GUI front ends, more utilities, and  
a lot of documentation.

For users who already have installed MacTeX and want to upgrade some  
pieces, two subpackages are provided. TeXLive contains the TeX  
distribution in MacTeX and MacTeX-Additions contains the other pieces:  
Ghostscript, GUI programs, etc. MacTeX-Additions does not contain  
> 2) The actual MacTeX package on CTAN (http://ctan.tug.org/tex-archive/systems/mac/mactex/ 
> ) is dated with 2007-12-01. Since I installed the MacTeX package in  
> July 2007, I would like to update the package. How can I easily  
> upgrade to the actual version without uninstalling my own  
> installation?


The December 1 version has later versions of BibDesk, etc., but its  
TeX Live was constructed earlier, perhaps in late September. These  
"development versions of TeX Live" usually work fine, but they are  
slightly riskier than the main release because individual style files  
may not be quite in sync as authors gradually update the repository.
> 3) In case that there will be a MacTeX-2008 package in near future,  
> will I have to uninstall the MacteX-2007 installation prior to  
> install the 2008 package?

The next major release of TeX Live is still several months away.  
Assuming it is called TeX Live 2008, it will be installed in /usr/ 
local/texlive/2008. Thus it will not be necessary to uninstall  
MacTeX-2007; instead you can use the TeX Distribution Preference Pane  
to switch back and forth between the old and new versions until you  
are absolutely certain that the new version works well. This is a  
major advantage of the distribution data structure by Gerben Wierda  
and Jerome Laurens, and the next release of TeX Live will be our first  
chance to give it a real test!

Dick Koch

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