[OS X TeX] Re: BasicTeX-2008

Richard Koch koch at math.uoregon.edu
Mon Jun 15 15:11:21 EDT 2009


I made the BasicTeX package and can answer your questions.

The policy at CTAN is to provide one binary TeX distribution for each  
platform; otherwise CTAN would be overwhelmed with distributions. CTAN  
contains the complete TeX Live distribution as part of MacTeX. But we  
received special dispensation for the Macintosh to add the small  
BasicTeX distribution to CTAN. Adding another tgz format distribution  
would be out of the question.

There is a document explaining exactly how BasicTeX was made at


Find BasicTeX-2008 on this page and download the adjacent "About The  
Distribution.pdf". Using this document, you can either install the  
package and then remove the pieces you don't want or else follow the  
instructions to create an installation directly from the TeX Live svn.

The links you mention form the TeX Distribution data structure by  
Gerben Wierda and Jerome Laurens. These links are in a subdirectory of  
the system Library folder and so easily removed. Personally, I think  
you are crazy to remove them since they take little space and make it  
possible for programs like front ends, BibDesk, LaTeXiT, and TeX Live  
Utility to "just work" without any configuration. These links don't  
modify the actual distributions in any way --- not a single file has  
been added or modified in TeX Live to make these facilities work.

On the TUG site you'll find an article I wrote explaining why I was  
violently opposed to the TeX Distribution structure until one day I  
saw the light. So there is hope for you too.

Dick Koch

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