[Mac OS X TeX] dvipdfm available under fink

David R. Morrison drm at cgtp.duke.edu
Wed Sep 5 02:44:26 CEST 2001

I am pleased to announce that the excellent "dvipdfm" program by Mark Wicks
is now available for Mac OS X via the "fink" packaging system.  When combined
with teTeX, the Acrobat Reader, and your favorite Unix editor, it can be
part of a complete solution for TeX on Mac OS X for those who like using
Unix tools directly.  For those who use TeXShop or CMacTeX, it is my
understanding that there should no longer be a conflict between these
programs and the version of teTeX installed by fink, if you would like to
experiment with all of them.

Note that the .pdf files produced by dvipdfm are displayed accurately by
the Acrobat Reader, and are displayed accurately if moved to other
platforms, but are not displayed accurately by Apple's Preview program.  I
do not know the reason for this.

Why use dvipdfm?  This question is addressed in the teTeX documentation
(see TETEXDOC.tex or .dvi), which points out that there are at least 
three different methods for creating .pdf from .tex at present:
  1) translate .tex to .pdf directly using pdftex/pdflatex
  2) translate .dvi to .pdf using dvipdfm (not provided with teTeX)
  3) translate .ps to .pdf using Adobe Acrobat or ghostscript's ps2pdf
The documentation goes on to note that the desired .pdf file should be
prepared with outline fonts rather than bitmapped fonts, since the latter
scale very poorly.  Since ps2pdf cannot do this directly, a solution based
on that program works best if you switch to Times or some other postscript
font.  The commercial Adobe Acrobat program does not have this restriction.

A solution based on pdftex/pdflatex is fine if there are no postscript
graphics, but including postscript graphics leads to various complications.
These are avoided by dvipdfm, which uses ghostscript to process the graphics.
I have found this program to be reliable and easy to use.

What is fink and why use it?  Those of you who have installed Unix software
under Mac OS X have undoubtedly run into the same issues as I did initially:
how do I control where the software goes, whether all of the pieces of
software I install will function together seamlessly, and how do I prevent
one installation from interfering with, or overwriting files from, another?
Solutions to this problem were found in the Unix world long ago, and they
rely on one of several "package managers" (Red Hat, Debian, the FreeBSD
open ports system, etc.) to handle installations and resolve conflicts.
"Fink" is an adaptation of the Debian system for Mac OS X, which installs
everything into a directory of its own: usually called /sw, but you get to
choose the directory when you install fink.  (The one exception is the X11
windowing system, which is installed in /usr/X11R6.)

Fink is still under development, but already includes teTeX, dvipdfm, and
other software which may be of interest to mathematicians such as pari-GP
(Macaulay2 is coming soon).  Once fink has been installed on your system,
you can ask it to install various packages which it knows about.  To
install them, fink will download the original source code via the internet,
"patch" it if necessary to make it work under Mac OS X, and compile and
install it.  (Eventually there will also be an option to use pre-compiled
binaries instead of doing the compile step on your own machine.)  Unlike
some other systems which have been partially transported to Mac OS X, the
packages in fink's "stable" directory work without needing to hack the code
yourself -- you simply watch your Mac compile TeX (or whatever) on its own!
Of course you have to have the "Developer Tools" installed, so that you
have a C compiler.

The one warning is that the compilation step can take a while: it takes
about an hour to compile teTeX on my 500MHz iBook.

You can find fink at fink.sourceforge.net .

  -- Dave Morrison, Duke University

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