[pdftex] novice with problems

M. Wroth mark at astrid.upland.ca.us
Fri Sep 14 07:25:00 CEST 2001

PdfLaTeX is an application of pdfTeX (as LaTeX is an application of TeX 
:-).  TeX by itself, without any application or customization applied, is a 
very low level "language" for document markup.  Almost all use of TeX is 
with one or more "macro packages", of which LaTeX is probably the most popular.

Big macro packages, like LaTeX, are usually compiled into "format files" 
for speed in loading.  By convention, TeX with the LaTeX format file loaded 
is called LaTeX---in fact, many implementation of TeX are arranged so that 
if you call them, say, LaTeX, they will automatically load the 
corresponding format file.

So if you have a "full" implementation of pdfTeX, you probably have the 
files you need for pdfLaTeX; the basic sequence you need to follow is:

1. Get pdfTeX installed and running
2. Create the pdflatex format file (usually called pdflatex.fmt).  You do 
this by running "pdfinitex" (which may not be called that on your system) 
on the basic latex file (latex.ltx, IIRC) .  The command to do so is 
something like "pdfinitex latex.ltx /dump" (the "\dump" command tells 
initex to same the resulting memory image as a format file).
3. Move the format file to where your system looks for format files
4. Arrange for the command "pdflatex" to call pdftex with your new format 
file.  This can be an alias that expands to "pdftex &pdflatex ", a command 
file, or a link to the main executable.

At 08:21 PM 9/12/01 +0100, Sergio Dominguez wrote:
>hi all!
>I am quite new in this stuff of pdftex, and having lots of problems.
>I just installed pdftex thinking that it would also bring pdflatex, but it 
>does not!! Is it the same?? Which should I use if I ahve latex files to 
>pass to pdflatex?? Where can i get pdflatex?? I have been looking for it 
>in google, freshmeat ... with no
>success at all!
>I read in an old email to the list that there is  a FAQ for pfdlatex, 
>where can I find it??
>Thanks very much for your answers.
>It's better to be pissed off than pissed on.
>pdftex mailing list
>pdftex at tug.org

Mark B. Wroth
<mark at astrid.upland.ca.us>

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