[Mac OS X TeX] Textures and Mac OS X - an editorial

Zachary Davis zsd3711 at gamma2.uta.edu
Fri Jun 1 06:40:08 CEST 2001

<x-flowed windows-1252>Thursday, 31 May 2001

Dr. Gray,

I absolutely agree, I have recently turned to Textures to learn TeX as 
well as LaTeX, and have just this past semester become comfortable in 
writing TeX and LaTeX documents.  I would much prefer to use a native 
TeX/LaTeX setup, rather than Textures in Classic.  However, I am not 
sure what all the various programs that all of you are running to do 
your TeX/LaTeX writing are actually used for (i.e. TeX Shop, CMacTex, 
etc.)  I understand that an editor such as BBedit is required; though 
I've never used that before either.

Textures was convenient in that everything seemed bundled together as 
far as fonts, various packages, editor, etc.  I also really like the 
sychronizing feature of Textures, which allows the user to see the .dvi 
output file as you add to your input file.  If anyone has the time, to 
explain how I might set up my Ti Book to run TeX/LaTeX natively under OS 
X in a manner similar to what I have learned to expect in Textures, I 
would be much obliged.  It would be nice to know what TeX Engine I need, 
if there are any weird installation procedures, ease of use, editor of 
choice, additional fonts I need to install, any packages I need to run 
LaTeX, pdf viewers, and whether it is possible to see the output as I 

I am saddened to see Blue Sky not carbonizing their software, as I 
believe Steve Jobs is correct in saying that early adopters are looking 
for native applications to run, not brand loyalty.  I just downloaded 
the new version of OmniWeb, and am thoroughly impressed.


Zach Davis
On Thursday, May 31, 2001, at 10:54  PM, Gary L. Gray wrote:

> On 5/31/2001 at 11:14 PM -0400, Bryan S. Morse wrote:
>> And while we're at it: running under Classic doesn't cut it--a 
>> Carbonized
>> version of Textures is needed!  I hate having to restart Textures 
>> because
>> another Classic app crashes.
> I apologize for posting to both lists since I know that many of you are 
> on both, but I thought I should send this to everyone.
> Here is my two cents and then some ...
> I completely agree that a Carbonized version of Textures is needed. 
> Blue Sky (i.e., Barry Smith) has stated:
> At 3:19 PM -0700 4/1/2001, Barry Smith wrote:
>> Yes, we do
>> have plans to make Textures a native OS X application.  It will
>> not, however, be something that will happen quickly, and we
>> do not, as a rule, publicize schedule information about our product
>> plans.  We are very pleased to find that Textures as it is apparently
>> runs perfectly under the OS X Classic environment; Apple has
>> corrected the system problem which caused printing difficulties,
>> and we know of no problems with Textures and OS X at this time.
>> Our plans for Textures and OS X are, as our users might expect,
>> to do more than to just "Carbonize" the existing Textures application,
>> more than to just "make it native" with no fundamental or feature
>> changes.  We have the opportunity, and we plan to invest the effort,
>> to completely re-implement Textures: to take what we have learned
>> in the (yes) fifteen years of Textures' existence to simplify and 
>> enhance
>> the user interface and the underlying organization and structures that
>> make Textures what it is.  Textures for OS X will share little, if any,
>> code from the current Textures, but will contain most of its concepts
>> and all of our learning about TeX and its users.
>> Recently we circulated a request for information from our users as
>> to your expectations and desires for your moving to OS X, and we
>> were extremely pleased with the response, which was voluminous
>> and (nearly) unequivocal: Textures users are at the forefront and will
>> be choosing to move to OS X, with deliberate speed and high 
>> expectations.
>> We wish that we could say that Textures for OS X will be out "real
>> soon now", but we, and you, know that that could not be the case,
>> when you understand the scope of our plans for the native environment.
>> We are naturally pleased and (of course :) not surprised that the 
>> current
>> Textures runs well under the Classic environment, and we are surely
>> confident that Textures will rarely (if ever) be the cause of Classic 
>> crashes.
>> As the OS X platform makes it practical and desirable to support PDF
>> as an illustration format, we will if it is feasible issue an interim
>> Classic Textures which offers support for PDF illustrations.
> I read this as "don't hold your breath waiting for a Mac OS X version 
> of Textures". I am, as many others seem to be, very disappointed that 
> we are all going to have to find other solutions. Tom Kiffe and Richard 
> Koch et al. have come through with OS X solutions and it appears that 
> people are going to switch and never look back. I am not interested in 
> having to run something in Classic when a Mac OS X version is 
> available. I, and my students, have been using both CMacTeX and TeXShop 
> as we try and decide which will be our choice for Mac OS X. At last 
> week's WWDC, Jobs said that surveys have overwhelmingly shown that 
> people are more interested in native solutions than they are in brand 
> loyalty --- it seems to me that Blue Sky should be very worried in 
> light of this information. I have been told that Blue Sky is developing 
> a Windows version of Textures. If this is true, then I think Blue Sky 
> is making a terrible mistake. They are arriving pretty late to the 
> Windows game and will have difficulty penetrating that market. This is 
> on top of the fact that their loyal Mac customers are going to find 
> other solutions rather than waiting to switch to Mac OS X. I know Blue 
> Sky is a small company with limited resources, but it seems to me (and 
> I am sure many of you will tell me if you think I am wrong) that they 
> should be concentrating their efforts on their CURRENT loyal customer 
> base rather than a NONEXISTENT FUTURE customer base that may never 
> materialize.
> I would love to hear what other people think (please mail to the list 
> rather than to just me so that we can have a discussion on this 
> matter). Maybe if there is a large enough cry, we can have three 
> choices instead of two. :-)
> Best regards,
> --    Gary L. Gray
>    Associate Professor
>    Engineering Science & Mechanics
>    Penn State University
>    (814) 863-1778
>    http://www.esm.psu.edu/Faculty/Gray/
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Zachary S. Davis
Department of Aerospace Engineering
University of Texas at Arlington
P.O. Box 19032
Arlington, TX 76019

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