[Mac OS X TeX] TeX Live vs teTeX

Gerben Wierda sherlock at rna.nl
Mon Feb 11 00:36:03 CET 2002

On Sunday, February 10, 2002, at 09:57 , Benji Fisher wrote:

>      The difference between TeXLive and teTeX is that the former comes 
> from
> the TeX Live CD put out by the TeX Users' Group (TUG) and the latter is 
> the
> distribution put together by Thomas Esser (hence the "te" part).  
> TeXLive is
> more up to date and complete, and teTeX is more stable and has been 
> tested to
> avoid conflicts between the different components.  I cannot give any 
> more
> detail than that.

Close. The distribution I make does not come from a TeX Live CD. These 
CD's are created once in a while and the current one is over 6 months 
old afaik. I tap directly into the TeX Live source repository. We might 
expect a new TeX Live CD somewhere in the summer. TeX Live has a source 
and a source.development repository, and I tap into the latter at 
moments that the maintainer says that it is stable. pdfTeX is officially 
synchronized with this repositpry, which means that TeX Live is *the* 
place for an up to date pdfTeX (pretty important for the Mac OS X, where 
PDF is king and X11 is normally unavailable). Different people maintain 
different parts of TeX Live and not all of them have time to work on it 
all the time.

TeX Live also has a texmf tree repository which is 500MB in size, 
obviously too large for a distribution I create.

Thomas pays close attention to the fact that his distribution has to run 
on *every* unix out there. This also implies he is often bound to a 
lowest common denominator (e.g. for /bin/sh functionality). He also has 
design goals for his distribution (e.g. single places for certain 
configs, like type1 font map files). Thomas' goals make his distribution 
less rich (e.g. dvipdfm is missing) but it is easier to maintain.

Thomas also maintains an *excellent* texmf tree which has a reasonable 
size, so this is what I use for the texmf tree (to which I add a bit in 
a separate tree).

To make matters a bit more complex, Thomas' draws from TeXLive for the 
programs and TeX Live draws form Thomas for suport programs and scripts. 
There are some differences, but not many. However, because all players 
had a lack of available time, things have separated a bit on the support 
script stuff and such, but recently there have been positive 
developments in that area (also prompted by Mac OS X). All in all, the 
differences for most users (certainly non-sysadmin type users) between 
both releases are small. One big difference: TeX Live is designed such 
that one can run it from the CD (e.g. no symlinks).

Thomas' last official programs-release is pretty old. Even the last beta 
used to be pretty old (2000). However, recently there have been some 
developments in both teTeX (which is progressing to a new release --- 
the latest beta is pretty close) and TeX Live (which is working towards 
a new CD release). I am trying to make sure both compile and install 
'out of the box' on Mac OS X (and matters have improved a lot lately, 
most of the work in that area is complete).

As far as preferred use is concerned, I'd like people to use the latest 
releases. That way errors are caught while we still are in a phase 
before an official release of teTeX or TeX Live.

It is my goal to make sure that the next release of both teTeX and TeX 
Live are completely 'it just works' on Mac OS X.


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