[OS X TeX] slightly OT: sharing TeX installation possible?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Mon Oct 18 17:09:03 CEST 2004

> OK, this may be slightly off-topic, but it continues something we were
> talking about recently: If I compare a TeX installation on a linux and
> an OS X box, which files are really different? I assume that the
> compiled binaries under teTeX/bin/ will only work for one platform
> (that's why the directories have these explicit names like
> "powerpc-unknown-linux-gnu" or "powerpc-apple-darwin6.8," right?), but
> what about the rest of the teTeX directory? I was wondering since
> Gerben's setup is so incredibly convenient and powerful. I spent a good
> deal of Sunday trying to install the latest teTeX beta on my (gentoo)
> linux system. In the end, I succeeded, but it was a long process, and I
> still haven't installed all the goodies that come with Gerben's
> texmf.gwtex etc. So I was wondering if it wasn't possible to just share
> my teTeX branch between my OS X and my linux partition, like put a
> symlink into linux/usr/local and have both set of binaries under
> teTeX/bin, with the $PATH variable in both systems pointing to the
> right one. Does anybody have any ideas about this, or even had
> experience with similar setups?

This is why the directory is called "share". If you make sure both binary
distributions are based on the same Web2C (current 7.5.2, new 7.5.3) then
you can easily share. Note that you also need to share
/usr/local/teTeX/texmf.cnf because it contains the dir settings.

In fact, just add the linux binaries inside bin and you have a shareable

> And, to resume something that was also mentioned on the list: it is
> indeed quite amazing to use TeX on linux from time to time. Latex
> documents, even long ones, compile in no time at all, even ConTeXt
> (which I use more than LaTeX) is relatively speedy. It is a bit
> embarrassing for our favorite OS...

Before you draw that conclusion, are you sure you have measured this the
same way? That is on the command line without any display involved?
Because Mac OS X uses PDF and requires a complete compile before the first
page is displayed, but DVI-based systems under X11 may use setups where
the first page is displayed as soon as it has been created and while you
are looking at that first page, compilation goes on for the rest in the

A fair comparison is on the command line, pdftex compile only.


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