[OS X TeX] From OzTeX to TeXShop

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Fri May 28 18:09:32 EDT 2010

Hello Josep,

On 29/05/2010, at 1:34 AM, Josep Maria Font wrote:

> A colleague seems likely to switch from OzTeX to TeXShop, but I  
> would need some help in (a) convincing her to make the final  
> decision, and (b) guiding her through the switching process.

Wow. I wasn't aware that OzTeX was still available.


This indicates that Andrew Trevorrow is indeed still active,
and perhaps catching up with modern developments.

> I have never used OzTeX myself, but it seems it does not use the  
> same file structure and so on, and in particular does not store  
> personal files and fonts in the same way as TeXShop or TeXLive do.  
> Thus, I will be grateful to the list if someone can give me advice  
> in these three points:
> (a) Reasons why one should prefer TeXShop to OzTeX nowadays [my  
> reason: I would be able to give her advice on installation  
> problems, etc.]

The basic reasons are that:

   1. OzTeX v5.2 is dated 2004 so has not advanced in more than 5 years.

    There has been a lot of advancement since then.
    TeXshop is fully compatible with all these, but OzTeX is not.

   2. OzTeX  uses the  TeX--> Dvips--> Ghostscript  method of
      producing PDF output from LaTeX source.
      TeXshop defaults to using pdfTeX as the main engine.

      This could cause difficulties for collaboration, if the
      people involved use techniques based solely on one or the other.
      e.g., format of graphics, different input encodings,
       use of \special commands for direct use of PS or PDF.

      Such differences are not insurmountable, but they do add
      an extra layer of complexity to either the processing
      or the management of a project with multiple styles of
      input material.

> (b) Special operations one has to perform and special problems one  
> has to care about when switching from OzTeX to TeXShop (personal  
> files, fonts, configurations, etc.).

   This is hard to answer without detailed experience using both  

   I remember that OzTeX allowed you to use a TDS compliant file system,
   though it had its own format to start with.
   Presumably this is still the case.

   If your colleague has not used a TDS structure before, then this
   will take a little bit of getting used to where all the packages
   and documentation can be found.

   A MacTeX distribution now comes with many more support programs
   than OzTeX provides.

> (c) Main working differences one will have to learn and become used  
> to.

   Item 2. above would be relevant to this, I'd guess.

   One thing here is that TeXshop does not have a DVI viewer.
   Computers are so fast that in TeX+Ghostscript mode, this
   step is omitted. Processing goes straight to the running
   of the dvips --> Ghostscript --> PDF phase.
   This does take a few tenths of seconds, so it *may* seem
   a bit slower that OzTeX producing and showing DVI.

   On the other hand, so far as I know, modern fonts are not
   designed for viewing with a DVI viewer. So there may be
   some difficulties there --- this used to be about having
   bitmapped displays.

   But Trevorrow used to be a pretty good developer for Mac software,
   so he has probably solved that difficulty, by passing it to the
   operating system --- but no updates in 6 years means that a lot
   of improved font technology may not be properly supported.

> Thanks in advance,
> JMaF

Hope this helps,


Ross Moore                                       ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Mathematics Department                           office: E7A-419
Macquarie University                             tel: +61 (0)2 9850 8955
Sydney, Australia  2109                          fax: +61 (0)2 9850 8114

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