[OS X TeX] TeX Distribution preference pane

John Thoo jthoo at yccd.edu
Sat Jul 9 00:07:22 CEST 2016

> On Jul 8, 2016, at 12:00 PM, macosx-tex-request at email.esm.psu.edu wrote:
>> On 8 Jul 2016, at 16:02, John Thoo <jthoo at yccd.edu> wrote:
>> Hi.  I am using Yosemite, and am thinking about updating to El Capitan now that Sierra has been announced.  I can't remember which version of TeX Live I have installed currently, so I went to System Preferences... and clicked on the TeX Distribution pane to find out.  However, when I did that, I got this box.
>> ---------------------------------------------------
>> | Preferences Error                                |
>> |                                                  |
>> | Could not load TeX Distribution preference pane. |
>> ----------------------------------------------------
>> What should I do?
>> By the way, are there any tips for making a smooth update to El Capitan, particularly vis-a-vis TeX?  I don't use TeXShop; instead, I use a terminal window in XQuartz to typeset (pdflatex), and then Preview to view.
> Elliott Roper <elliott at yrl.co.uk> wrote:
> I'm no expert, but that means you have a recent one. They gave up on the preference pane. Apple made it a hard to catch moving target I believe. The current way is to select the configure menu in TeX Live Utility then choose reconfigure distributions.

Thanks, Elliott.

I have TeX Live Utility Version 1.17 (1.17).  When I opened it (for the first time), I got this box.

| Unable to find a valid update server                   |
|                                                        |
| Either a network problem exists or the TeX Live        |
| version on the server does not match.  If this problem | 
| persists on further attempts, you may need to try a    |
| different repository.                                  |

I note that the Repository Address now is


Also, when I looked in the configure menu, I didn't see reconfigure distributions.  I did find, however, Configure > Manage Repositories.  Is that the same thing?  Should I select that?

> Richard Koch <koch at uoregon.edu> wrote:
> The Preference Pane is no longer installed in MacTeX-2016. It?s functionality
> was moved to TeX Live Utility. Use ?Reconfigure Distributions? in the Configure
> Menu.

Thanks, Dick.

As I mentioned above, I couldn't find Configure > Reconfigure Distributions.  Could it be that my version of TeX Live Utility is too old?

By the way, I've never used TeX Live Utility.  The last time that I updated TeX Live (about one or two years ago), I downloaded from <tug.org>.

> Old preference panes are not removed by MacTeX-2016, although
> they can easily be removed by users.

How would I do that?  Thanks.

> It became too difficult to support Pref Panes since they are plugins for
> Apple?s System Preferences, and Apple kept changing the requirements
> for such plugins.
> If you use XQuartz, then there is another important piece of news. Until
> recently, we used a very old XQuartz on Snow Leopard to compile 64 bit
> binaries; the resulting binaries (ie., xdvi) continued to work with later
> versions of XQuartz. However, the very latest version of XQuartz failed.
> Luckily, XQuartz is easy to update since it uses the Sparkle Update Mechanism.
> Also luckily, XQuartz supports Snow Leopard and higher. So xdvi in
> MacTeX-2016 was compiled with this latest version of XQuartz.
> Notice that if you update XQuartz, then you cannot run xdvi in earlier
> distributions like MacTeX-2015, so use of the Pref Pane mechanism
> might be tricky for you. The older versions of XQuartz are still available
> and you can downgrade if you have upgraded, so your problem will
> come if you want to use both the 2015 and 2016 versions more or
> less simultaneously.

I have not used xdvi in a long time (since I started using pdflatex to typeset, and so started using Preview instead of xdvi), so I think that what I'd like to do is to update to El Capitan, and then update TeX Live.  Should I just do that, and then search to update to the latest XQuartz?

> R Martinez <rm.tech at mac.com> wrote:
> I updated to El Capitan last year while using MacTeX 2015 and had zero problems with TeX, LaTeX, TeXShop, and all the MacTeX programs I use. 
> Moreover, using the latest version of El Capitan, I recently updated to MacTeX 2016, again with zero problems. I suggest you update to El Capitan first, then to MacTeX 2016. 
> The job done by Dick Koch and the MacTeX team is fabulous: the package just hums. My thanks to all. 

Thanks, Ral.  That's really encouraging to hear.

Thanks again to everyone.

(I receive the digest.)

Algebra in Context.  Teaching introductory algebra using history as the
vehicle.  Johns Hopkins Univ Press.  www.amazon.com/dp/1421417286

MAA review: http://www.maa.org/press/maa-reviews/algebra-in-context

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