TeX Distributions

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Historically there were a lot of different TeX distributions. Nowadays there are only a few wide spread. We mention only those that are free and support ConTeXt:

NameOSHomepageRemarks
TeX Livea lottug.org/texliveweb2c, based on teTeX; has installer and a package manger.
teTeXLinux, Unixtug.org/tetexweb2c; not supported any more, TeX Live is recommended instead.
fpTeXWin32xemtexnot maintained any more, see XEmTeX
XEmTeXWinxemtex
MikTeXWinmiktex.orgwith GUI
proTeXtWintug.org/protextbased on MikTeX, bundled with TeX Live
W32TeXWinfsci.fuk.kindai.ac.jpwith XeTeX and the latest ConTeXt
gwTeXMacOS Xrna.nlweb2c, based on TeX Live; comfortable install and update GUI ("i-Installer"). Now unsupported
MacTeXMacOS Xtug.org/mactexweb2c, based on TeX Live; comfortable install. Actually the simplest MacOSX install.
minimal ConTeXtWin, Lin, Macpragma-ade.comweb2c

web2c hints

MikTeX hints

TeX engines

TeX the program writes only DVI output; with ConTeXt we normally use pdfTeX, LuaTeX or XeTeX and generate PDF.

NameOSConTeXtHomepageRemarks
pdfTeX"all"Yespdftex.orglatest version at freshmeat or sarovar; development frozen, see LuaTeX
LuaTeX"all"Yesluatex.orgextended version of pdfTeX using Lua
XeTeX"all"Yessil.orgsupports OpenType and all other fonts installed on OS, Unicode, bidirectional typesetting, Mac special features; Windows version not officially released yet - see W32TeX above
NTSJavaNoCTANOO re-implementation of TeX in Java as a base for further enhancements; discontinued, see ExTeX
ExTeXJavaNoextex.orgmerger of NTS with eTeX, pdfTeX and Omega (pre-alpha state)
Aleph"all"?YesCTANOmega/eTeX merge (former eOmega) by Giuseppe Bilotta (beta state)

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