The recommended LaTeX port?

Norman Gray norman.gray at
Mon Aug 20 08:31:06 UTC 2018


On 20 Aug 2018, at 2:53, Victor Sudakov wrote:

> Which is *the* \LaTeX distribution for FreeBSD currently?

I don't know specifically about the 'for FreeBSD' part, but I can make a 
couple of points about (La)TeX variants.  TeXLive is currently the 
dominant TeX distribution.  The canonical source of that is 

As mentioned earlier in this thread 'latex' can use only EPS files as 
images, but 'pdflatex' can use a variety of formats _excluding_ EPS.  
However ps2pdf can convert EPS files to PDF, ready for inclusion using 
pdflatex.  I think it's fair to say that pdflatex is used much more 
commonly than latex, except in those cases (for example in some journal 
submissions) where one must fit in with an EPS-only workflow.

Generally (and certainly in the TeXLive distribution), latex and 
pdflatex are the same program, distinguished by the default (but 
changeable) value of \pdfoutput: in either program, \pdfoutput=0 
produces DVI output, and \pdfoutput=1 produces PDF.

You might be interested, Victor, in xe(la)tex or lua(la)tex, which are 
also in TeXLive.  These are two friendly forks of TeX which use Unicode 
internally -- so the source file can be cyrilllic with no 
\usepackage{inputenc} complications.

Both XeTeX and LuaTeX also use platform fonts, rather than only TeX or 
postscript fonts, which can be very convenient, if you're not concerned 
with making your source document portable.  There are a few interesting 
features which are unique to either XeTeX or LuaTeX -- both of these 
are, in a sense, the laboratories of the TeX world -- but the fonts 
capability which they both have is the one that most people are 
interested in.

If your goal is to produce documents with Cyrillic content, as 
painlessly as possible, than I think you'd be best using XeTeX or 
LuaTeX, and restraining yourself from doing anything fancy with fonts.

Best wishes,


Norman Gray  :
SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK

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