[texhax] MacTeX installation

Tom Schneider toms at ncifcrf.gov
Thu Jan 29 17:48:07 CET 2009


> I'm CCing your entire message below to Richard Koch, MacTeX  
> maintainer, who can provide a much better answer to you.


> The thing, in short, is this ---MacTeX provides a mechanism ---due to  
> Gerben Wierda and Jerome Laurens--- through which you can shift from  
> one TeX distribution to another you have installed; see
> /Library/TeX/Distributions/TeXDist-description.rtf

RTF = really terrible format??!!

There is a nice warning in that file about it being rather technical. 
I don't see that I should need to know about all these details when

> The user interface of this mechanism is a control panel in System  
> Preferences, called ``TeX Distribution'' (you should have it). I don't  
> think, though, that TeX Distribution knows about TeXLive 2005.

Yes, I have that and it only shows me TeXLive-2008.

> TeXLive usually asks you if you want symlinks of the *binaries* in / 
> usr/bin (or is it /usr/local/bin?); MacTeX, on the other hand, makes a  
> symlink to the *active distribution* in /usr/texbin ---that's how it  
> allows you to change from one distribution to another.

As a naive user, I wouldn't know about this or even want to know about
it.  I did find the /usr/texbin link.

> Obviously you had installed TeXLive 2005 from TUG before, and /usr/bin  
> is taken precedence over /usr/texbin.

That's right.  

It seems to me that the program could be aware of the previous
installations and "do the right thing" or ask the user what to do to


  Dr. Thomas D. Schneider
  National Institutes of Health
  National Cancer Institute
  Center for Cancer Research Nanobiology Program
  Molecular Information Theory Group
  Frederick, Maryland  21702-1201
  toms at ncifcrf.gov
  permanent email: toms at alum.mit.edu

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