LINGUIST List 6.408

Wed 22 Mar 1995

Sum: Latex on PC's

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Ami Kronfeld, Latex on PC's

Message 1: Latex on PC's

Date: Fri, 17 Mar 95 17:37:58 PSLatex on PC's
From: Ami Kronfeld <>
Subject: Latex on PC's

Last month I posted a query about LaTex on PCs. Here's a summary of
the responses I got and my own experience in making my choice (gtex)
work (if you plan to adopt gTex, especially for Windows NT, be sure to
read my comments -- it will save you time...)

First, I'd like to thank the following persons for proving, yet again,
the power of the virtual community: (Richard M. Alderson III)
Michael Covington (
Stewart Nichols (
KNAPPENVKPMZD.kph.Uni-Mainz.DE (J"org Knappen) (Stuart Luppescu) (Achim Stein) (Hugo ter Doest)
Wilhelm Weisweber (
Alex Schoenmakers (
Peter-Arno Coppen ( (John E. Koontz)
SYANGUVVM.UVic.CA (Suying Yang)
Robert Dale (
Alfredo Arnaiz ( (Craig Thiersch)
Alice Drewery (

All the messages were extremly helpful. They provided fairly detailed
information and many offered further help if I needed it. Thanks!

I have divided the information into the following categories:

1. General Tex Info
2. The Unix option
3. The Commercial option
4. The MAC option
5. EmTex
6. gTex (including my own experience in installing and using it)

Hope it is useful for others as well.

Ami Kronfeld
Natural Language Inc.

1) General Tex Info

"You might want to check out the UseNet group comp.tex.tex, and its
FAQ. Also, the book Mking TeX Work, by Norman Walsh, from O'Reilly

"You can also check out the tex archives on the US CTAN site:"

"The most comprehensive distribution is called 4allTeX, it's
available at the standard CTAN-archive sites (like and
on the CD-Rom "snapshot" of same from Prime Time (PRime Time

Special thanks to Suying Yang who sent a very useful page from Walsh's
_Making TEX work_. Here it is:

 TEX and the other programs mentioned in this book are available
from a number of places. It's impossible to list all of the places where
you might find any given tool, but there is one place where you will
almost certainly find every tool: the Comprehensive TEX Archive Network
 This network is a fully-mirrored anonymous FTP hierarchy on three
 continents. Always use the FTP site that is geographically closest to
you. The following table lists the current members of CTAN as of July

 Location Site IP Address Top Level Directory

 United States /tex-archive
 England /tex-archive
 Germany /tex-archive

You may also access the CTAN archives by electronic mail if you do not
have FTP access. For up-to-date instructions about the mail server,
send the single-line message help to:


Every CTAN mirror site has the same well-organized directory structure.
The top-level directory also contains a complete catalog of current files
organized by name, date, and size. The catalogs are named FILES.byname,
FILES.bydate, and FILES.bysize, respectively, in the top level directory.
The top-level directory contains the following subdirectories:

Directory Description of Contents
tools Archiving tools (unzip, tar, compress, etc.)
biblio Tools for maintaining bibliographic databases
digests Electronic digests (TEXhax, UKTEX, etc.)
info Free documentation, many good guides
dviware Printing and previewing software
fonts Fonts fo TEX
graphics Software for working with pictures and figures
help Online help files, etc.
indexing Indexing and glossary building tools
language Multi-national language support
macros Macro packages and stule files
misc Stuff that doesn't fit in any other category
support Tools for running and supporting TEX
systems OS-specific programs and files
web Sources for TEX programs (in Web)

The archives at and also support
gopher access to the archives. The UK gopher supports indexed
access to the archives. A World Wide Web (hypertext) interface
to the archives is available from:

This interface includes brief descriptions of many packages and the ability
to perform keyword and date searches.

2) The Unix option:

Many have pointed out that I could run Linux (freely distributed UNIX
clone) on my PC, and that it has great TeX support (NTEX 1.3). This
turned out to be impractical for me. But it is an option I did not
know existed:

"Check out FreeBSD, freely downloadable from, or
available as a CDROM from (about $40 or less). You can
maintain DOS and unix on the same hardware and switch between the
two, and therefore have your LaTex, too."

3) The commercial option:

"There is a commercial version of (La)TeX available for PCs from Y&Y,
who just today have announced a (among other

"Re your Linguist query -- We looked at the blurb describing both Y&Y
TeX and TrueTeX and chose the former.

"For info on TrueTeX email Richard J. Kinch (; for info
on Y&Y TeX email Louis Vosloo ( Both are in
the $400--500 area from memory. Seemed to me that Y&Y TeX was a bit
more abreast of changes (like LaTeX 2e) than TrueTeX but you'd be best
to get info from both of course to make up your own mind."

4) Latex on the Mac

"If you are not set on an Intel-based processor, OzTeX 1.8 is the
best shareware version for the Mac, while Textures (from Blue Sky) is
a highly regarded commercial implementation."

"I've used Textures for years on a Mac and still haven't seen
anything to compare in terms of ease of integration of graphics."

5) EmTex

EmTex seems to be the overall favorite for DOS machines. It is said
to be much more widely used (than gTex) and easier to install. A
summary of how you can get it:

"The most painless way to get LaTeX on your PC is to download emTeX from
the University of Georgia (, /pub/emtex). We give additional
installation instructions besides those provided by the author."

Other cites: /pub/tex/sytems/msdos/emtex and emtex-fonts [] pub/TeX/EmTeX [] [anonymous.tex.ibm_pc.emtex]

There was also a particular enthusiastic endorsment of emtex for emacs
users on OS/2:

"I use the OS/2 version [of emtex] which is truly excellent (not being
limited by memory, it is much better than the DOS version). There are
also available for OS/2, a graphical dvi viewer (dvipm), ghostscript,
dvips, etc. In addition, EM has ported GNU Emacs to OS/2 (The current
version is 19.27). IMHO, if you are going to work in LaTeX, you should
be using Emacs in LaTeX mode as your editor. Emacs + emTeX under OS/2
has pretty much supplanted other use of word processing software"

6) gTex

The gTex package was said to be more complete (AMSLaTeX, AMSTeX,
DVIWin etc.) and more Windows-friendly than emTeX. This is, more or
less, what sold me on it. I got it from:

gTeX /tex-archive/systems/msdos/gtex1.0
 for MS Windows/DOS users. MicroEmacs for Windows
 is the host interface whose menus allow easy access to TeX/Metafont/
 Also included are complete macro sets for Plain TeX, LaTeX,
 NFSS, e-TeX, AmSLaTeX, and AmSTeX.

One person who responded to my query commented that gTex is less
mature than EmTex. I must say that he is probably right.
Installation took me much longer than I anticipated. Here is a
summary of the problems and their workarounds:

1) To begin with, the main tex.exe in the base directory does not
accept arguments. I may have missed something, but I could not make
latex work by the standard

 $) tex &lplain (file-name>

What I got was simply the Tex environment. I could, of course, load
lplain at this point and then load my file. But this is rather
cumbersome. I found a workaround through micro-emacs, which is part
of the package.

2) I didn't realize that if you unzip latex2e after unzipping latex,
you clobber some of the Latex 2.09 .sty files (and you cannot use
Latex 2.09 as a result). There is a (rather complex) workaround and
if you need latex2e only to begin with you are in good shape.
However, it turned out that when you run latex2e.bat in the texfmts
directory (to generate the .fmt file for latex2e) the name of the fmt
file is latex.fmt, but it turned out that micro-emacs package expects
a totally different fmt file for latex2e, namely a file called
nfss2ltx.fmt. Even changing the relevant bat file does not solve the
problem. The only workaround I could find was to copy latex.fmt as
nfss2ltx.fmt (in short, if you don't want the hassle, install latex

3) The DviWin package for both previewing and printing (written by
Hipocrates Sendoukas) is rather nice. The feature that generates
missing fonts automatically is particularly useful if your disk space
is limited. However setting this option to work right was difficult
and the documentation is not very helpful. If you run under Windows
NT (as I do) this is what you need to do:

o Select Options/Missing Fonts...
o Select the THIRD option (Append line to file and execute command)
o in the Line text box write:

 call genpk $f $m $x $y $X $Y $d $p $e

o in the File text box write:


where X: is your hard drive, temp-dir is the value of your TEMP
environment variable and batch-file is an arbitrary name for a batch
file that will generatte missing fonts. For example, I use the
following text:


o in the Cmd text box write:

 genallnt.bat $(TEMP)\missing.bat

where TEMP is the environment variable that contains the name of the
directory in the File text box. Note that in the Cmd text box you
need to use an environment variable (you have to) while in the File
text box you cannot (you must specify the literal name of the temp
directory). It took me a while to figure this out and it wasn't fun.
If you do it wrong, DviWin takes control over your entire operating
system, firing up and killing DOS widows in rapid succession. You
cannot even use NT's task list to kill the runaway process.
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