TeX Distributions

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< Installation hints | Update Hints | Installation >

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:

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.
MikTeXWinmiktex.orgwith GUI
proTeXtWintug.org/protextbased on MikTeX, bundled with TeX Live
W32TeXWinfsci.fuk.kindai.ac.jpwith XeTeX and the latest ConTeXt
MacTeXMacOS Xtug.org/mactexweb2c, based on TeX Live; comfortable install. Actually the simplest MacOSX install.
minimal ConTeXtWin, Lin, Macpragma-ade.nlweb2c
  • web2c is a common base for TeX distributions, see tug.org/web2c. It uses the kpathsea tool and its ls-R database for file searches.

web2c hints

  • use mktexlsr (same as texhash) to rebuild the file database after every install or change!
  • Beware, older web2c distributions keep ConTeXt’s (Perl/Ruby) scripts at .../context/perltk, newer at .../scripts/Perl/context! Make sure to delete the older ones! See also Update Hints

MikTeX hints

  • MikTeX has a "rebuild database" menu entry; use it after every install or change!
  • You should enable write18 in miktex.ini (MikTeX's counterpart to texmf.cnf) to get MetaPost support working.

TeX engines

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

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)