[OS X TeX] R, paradigm to bring into the LaTeX world?

Gerben Wierda Gerben.Wierda at rna.nl
Mon Oct 23 15:58:37 CEST 2006

On Oct 23, 2006, at 03:04 , John Vokey wrote:

> MacTeXers,
> I am a devoted (some use the adjective ``slavish'', others 
> ``monomaniacal'') proponent of both OS X and LaTeX. But, there is 
> simply no question that the one (and only) place that Windoze users 
> have it all over OS X users is MikTeX. I can get my Windoze colleagues 
> up and using LaTeX in mere minutes, and they never have to find and 
> install subsequent .sty and other files, as MikTeX does that for them 
> automagically. As wonderful as i-installer is (and it is), it requires 
> some hand-holding for newbies. MacTeX is a great compromise, so great 
> that I never even mention i-installer to new OS X LaTeX using 
> colleagues. I assume that by the time they will need it, they will be 
> facile enough with LaTeX to grok it themselves.

MikTeX is superiour in its integration of downloading and using TeX. 
Such integration is almost impossible to accomplish in a generic 
installer. I have been looking at connecting to MikTeX a while back 
(which is why I added a p7zip i-Package), but in the end decided 
against it. The main problem is that it depends for its support on the 
work of one person and another teTeX-like diappearance of an essentual 
dependency is then a big risk.

What should happen IMO is that something large like the TeX Live group 
effort  would integrate such improved functionality. This would amongst 
other things require tighter control of TeX packages, something that 
will be very difficult to achive. TeX packages are a chaos, license-, 
organization-, documentation-, installation- and other-wise. It will be 
impossible unless a dedicated effort is being made to shoehorn 
everything back into one paradigm. MiKTeX does this, but it requires a 
separate set up distribution that is manually maintained. teTeX was the 

Basically, I think that in the long run TeX will remain a niche thing 
with changes of going extinct (e.g. if Microsoft or OpenOffice create a 
"good enough" setup for Math and large projects) unless this serious 
effort is made. That, I am afraid, will require serious financial 
sponsorship as it will  take many people a lot of time to accomplish 


PS. I have noticed that since MacTeX has become available the stream of 
feedback on i-Installer and the i-Packages has dried up.  Probably as a 
result of bahaviour like the behaviour described above. A superficial 
inspection of download logs in August has brought still considerable 
download activity to light. Still, in terms of getting feedback, this 
had dwindled to almost nothing.

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