[OS X TeX] Fwd: Squeezing MacTex onto a Macbook Air

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Fri May 27 15:33:59 EDT 2011

On May 27, 2011, at 2:58 PM, Bob wrote:

> I want to use Mactex on a Mac Air that only has a 64 GB disk so every GB
> counts. I noticed that the MacTeX.mpkg.zip seems to have duplicate
> trees, one under the home directory of the archive and one under MACOSX.

How did you determine this? Are you talking about the zip archive itself, the mpkg or what?

These don't really tell you much about what's installed.

> Are both of these necessary?
> Does the installer only choose the version for my computer's operating
> system so the duplication in the zip file does not matter if I delete it
> after the installation is complete?
> My interest is to use the installation for Lyx. Does anyone have other
> suggestions for reducing the installed size?

My full TL2010 folder is 3.74 GB; about 1.25 GB of that is documentation; that could easily be eliminated, although you would lose local access to the documentation. (You can always find docs on CTAN, so this might be a reasonable ). A lot of the rest of the space is taken up by fonts (almost 1 GB).  Packages themselves don't take up much space (175 MB), nor do the TeX binaries  (244 MB).

I worry about recommending anything for LyX, since I don't know much about what it assumes.  If I were really pressed for space, I would install BasicTeX and then personalize it with the packages that you need.  This will save you a lot of space.  The BasicTeX installer is only about 100MB and installs all of the main binaries, plus the TeXLive Core packages and fonts. BasicTeX also installs the TexLive Utility, which allows you to easily install packages that are missing.

The unknown in this story is how easy it is to know what package is missing based on LyX complaining when something doesn't work.  If you have easy access the the actual log file, then it might not be too hard, but I really don't know enough about LyX to help you here.


Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

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