[OS X TeX] Leopard and MacTeX

Richard Koch koch at uoregon.edu
Sat May 21 22:17:08 CEST 2016

Axel and others:

> Nevertheless, could you please adjust
> /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXLive-2016/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/Description.rtf
> to say "TeX Live 2016 Distribution“?
> TLU doesn’t use that description anymore, the pref pane does.
> Axel

Since we don’t install the Pref Pane, I didn’t update that date.
I have now updated it in my sources. But you won’t see the change unless
I am forced to rebuild again for more important reasons. 

Nevertheless, this and other corrections are appreciated.


This is perhaps the time to speak about support for PPC, Leopard,
and the very few Snow Leopard machines with 32 bit processors.
I suspect that users with these machines aren’t experimenting with LuaTeX
and other fast moving targets. As for binaries,  tex, pdftex, and xetex,
are quite stable and updating to new binaries is probably

The main reason we have supported these older machines is that without
a new release, tlmgr and TeX Live Utility cannot be used to update style
and class files, fonts, etc. And these updates DO matter for users.

Unfortunately, maintaining support for Leopard has become harder and harder. For
example, the current TeX Live Utility requires Snow Leopard, so Leopard
users are stuck with an older version which cannot be updated. Thus
while everyone else uses TLU to switch distributions, Leopard users 
have to use the preference Pane.

In addition, the older TeX Live Utility cannot install critical updates to tlmgr
itself in 2016. So while Leopard users can use it for regular updates, they
will have to turn to the command line every time there is a critical

Programmers like to use modern features; this makes their
code more robust and easier to maintain. In the Linux world, 
scripting languages like perl and ruby are updated as a matter of
course, but Apple only updates versions of OS X one release back from
the current version, and most Mac users wisely avoid updating
individual components of their older systems. 

So the danger for Leopard users comes not from C and C++, where
we can use modern compilers to build binaries, but instead from the
scripting languages that are part of TeX Live. This year, the tlmgr
portion of TeX Live was extensively revised by Norbert Preining.
He spent inordinate amounts of time making the changes compatible
with Leopard, but we still don’t know for sure if critical updates work
with Leopard.

Therefore, it is highly likely that we will remove support in 2017 for
PPC machines  and Intel machines running Leopard. Older versions of
MacTeX are archived and always available.

If this change would cause a hardship for some individuals or organizations,
now is the time to let us know about it.

Dick Koch

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