[OS X TeX] The DVD version of MacTeX

Richard Koch koch at uoregon.edu
Tue Sep 1 20:22:08 CEST 2015

I’m writing this short note so readers of the list will know something about the
DVD version of MacTeX.

MacTeX is distributed free over the internet by CTAN and can also be obtained 
from a torrent release. But it is also on a DVD which TUG sends to its members, 
and which other users  can buy for a nominal fee.

The 2015 DVD arrived at my house yesterday. That’s why we had a bug report

The DVD contains an install script for Linux and Unix machines which is
essentially the same as the install script available at tug.org <http://tug.org/> for downloading
and installing TeX over the internet. It contains a different install package for
Windows, and MacTeX for OS X. But to save room, the MacTeX package on the
DVD doesn’t contain TeX Live. Instead, Mac users of the DVD get TeX Live by using
the Linux-Unix install script.

This install script asks a series of questions before installing TeX Live. But
the Mac portion of the DVD contains a “profile” file with the answers to these
questions. So Mac users of the DVD run one Unix command and get TeX Live
without answering any questions.

If the DVD install fails, there are (at least) two possible causes. One is that
the single line of shell code which I wrote doesn’t work on some machines.
(Users are asked to copy that line and paste it into Terminal.) The other is that
the large amount of Ruby and other code in the various TeX Live scripts
doesn’t work on some Macs. Debugging earlier today was essentially 
looking for an error in my code. Since virtually every line of shell code I’ve
ever written didn’t work initially, this was a reasonable process.

If we had proceeded further, the next step would have been to execute the
TeX Live install script, either from the DVD or over the internet, to see if
it failed. Then someone else would have to fix the error. But experience
shows that the odds of such an error are very small.

Dick Koch
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