[OS X TeX] TeX Distribution Hierarchy?

Herb Schulz herbs at wideopenwest.com
Tue Feb 8 14:54:12 CET 2005


I'd like to try to clean up the pdfcrop adapted version of the pdftricks
package. To do that I'd like to know which of the ``standard'' distributions
of TeX have pdfcrop. If all do that is great. To section things off I'd like
to figure out the hierarchy of the major TeX distributions; here is my
(undoubtedly poor) understanding:

CTAN: N ot really a distribution but the residence of all things TeX
containing more than the official distribution.

TeX-Live: The complete and general TeX distribution with several systems for
different processors and OS's. This contains ``everything'' that is
considered official TeX.

teTeX: a relatively large subset of TeX-Live meant for UNIX systems and
(originally?) based on web2c conversions of the original Pascal source to C
from the web distribution.

gwTeX: teTeX with extras taken from TeX-Live. Therefore a superset of teTeX.
I believe that the teTeX part resides in texmf.tetex but certainly may be
wrong. Are the binaries all teTeX with no additions? Since documentation for
pdfcrop resides in texmf.tetex can I assume it comes as part of the teTeX

MikTeX: a multi-level distribution for DOS/Windows(?). Is there any
guarantee that a MikTeX distribution that has the pdftricks package also has
pdfcrop? I'm really on thin ice here since I know nothing about DOS/Windows.

I know I can test for the presence of the MikTeX distribution; pdftricks
already does this for using `del' instead of `rm' for deleting extraneous
files, etc. Can I test for other distributions? Can I read stdout and stderr
(or what ever it is on DOS/Windows) of a process from TeX? I seem to
remember that it could be done but I need my mind jogged. If I can then
testing `which altpdflatex` and `which pdfcrop` should be all I need.

Good Luck,

Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest.com)

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