[OS X TeX] Re: TeXShop Feature Request

Alain Schremmer schremmer.alain at gmail.com
Tue Jun 1 00:04:14 EDT 2010

On May 31, 2010, at 9:17 PM, Herbert Schulz wrote:

> Depends upon what you mean by stand-alone. BasicTeX is certainly a  
> functional system and can compile files for submission to AMS  
> journals, etc. But it is still very basic by many of our standards;  
> missing many fonts and packages we may tend to use on a daily  
> basis. Unfortunately our personal needs are so varied that there  
> can't be a BasicTeX that will make many of us happy. It's an  
> unsolvable problem.

Indeed probably unsolvable but, first, it seems to me that there are  
two ways to use LaTeX, namely for something that is going to be:
	A. First printed and then made available in printed form
	B. First made available in pdf form and then printed

In the second case, the end-user needs only a pdf reader and possibly  
a Print On Demand outfit. However there are two subsidiary cases:
	a) the LaTeX-literate end-user who wants to take advantage of the  
FDL to modify the text. S/he is likely to be able to be able to get  
the missing esoteric packages if any.
	b) the LaTeX-innocent end-user who is only interested in the  
contents but is nevertheless needs a LaTeX installation to typeset  
the ancillaries, homeworks, quizzes, exams.

Case a) is not really different from A inasmuch as they are both  
predicated on LaTeX being used to *write*.

Case b) however is entirely different. As pointed out before,  these  
LaTeX-innocent end-users do not want to write in LaTeX, in fact do  
not want to have anything to do with LaTeX if they can help it. They  
only want to be able to use something that happens to require a LaTeX  
installation---and, hopefully, a GUI to preserve the end-user from  
getting LaTeX dirty.

As it happens, so far, there are probably very few people in case b)  
but getting a minimal, one-click installation would seem to be a  
necessary condition for their numbers to increase.

As such, though, BasicTeX would seem to be quite inappropriate as "[i] 
t contains all of the standard tools needed to write TeX documents",  
which, in this case, is exactly not the point. For instance, the end- 
user would certainly not need "MetaFont, dvips, ConTeXt, MetaPost,  
and XeTeX".

So, how about a MinimalTeX?

Fearful regards

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