Friday, April 27, 2007

Latex: Miktex (Windows) and TexShop (Mac X) and tetex (Linux)

Latex is great tool for writing scientific texts. You just write and do not worry about sorting references, formatting them, changing numeration when you add or remove figures, create subfigures, subtables, etc. It is just nice and I am big fun of it, even thought creating tables is not so convenient. Nevertheless, I have had lately one big problem with Latex, or rather I should say problems between Windows’ and Mac X’s Latex software.

At work I use Mac X 10.4 and I have TexShop to write in Latex. On Windows there is Miktex. Separately both tools are just fine. However, when I tried to edit tex file in Miktex file which initially was written in TexShop I found big problems. First of all, basic Miktex installation do not include subfig package. Which is very, very bed due to the fact that my PC box do not have internet connection. But after connecting to the internet and installing subfig and many other missing packages it did not help much. I still have huge problems with compiling tex files that were written in TexShop.

I know that Latex should be multiplatform but in my case it is not. As far as I can say TexShop in Mac X and MikTex in Windows are totally different, and one cannot use both. Maybe if I spend more time, I could solve all the problems and run my file on Windows, but in fact I do not have time and energy to do it. Even though I’m computer geek, believe me or not I have more important thing to do than to investigate what is happening with MikTex. I need to write, and not to waste time make MikTex working with my files from Mac XĂ…DMaybe if I install full MikTex, rather than basic, but this is not possible because full MikTex is just too big to download from the internet. One other fast possible solution is maybe to use Cygwin and to use some linux based latex software to write latex. This I can check quite quickly, but first I need to install Cygwin.

As a result I am considering working with OpenOffice or even Microsoft office, because they just work. Not perfectly but at least I can write. To be honest I’m I would prefer to work in Latex, and maybe I will do all the writing on Mac X, because Latex is much better for me than MS Office or OpenOffice.

By the way, I think that TexShop for Mac X is much better and easier to use than MikText. I wander how it looks like in Linux. I have Ubuntu on my other PC box, and maybe I will install some Latex environment there just to see if I experience the same problems or everything will work.

I also wander if only I have such problems between latex in Mac X and Windows XP, or it is rather common?

I have just tested latex on Ubuntu with tetex and auctex. Anfortunately the same proplems as before. I can not compile Latex files for Mac X - too many errors.

Latex is totally incompatible between different operating systems if one tries to write a little more complicated (subtables, subfigures, two column) article !!!


  1. Anonymous11:05 AM

    LaTeX is compatible in every platform where the TeX system is installed. The only difference is whether the package you want to use is installed or not. As far as I know, when you install MacTeX on your mac it installs everything. On the other hand MiKTeX gives you the option whether you want to install basic LaTeX first and add the necessary package later or you install it completely from very beginning.

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