TeX-XeT for the Macintosh

Since the beginning of 1992 a new TeX implementation for the Macintosh has been released: DirectTeX by Wilfried Ricken, a young theoretical physicist at the University of Bochum, Germany.

DirectTeX includes all TeX-related tools, starting with TeX itself (versions for Macs with or without numerical coprocessor), BigTeX, MF, and going all the way to Weave & Tangle, CWeave & CTangle, MWeave & MTangle (for Modula-2), MFT, GFtoDVI, MakeIndex, BibTeX and many other tools, some of them for the first time on the Macintosh.

The most important difference of DirectTeX and the two other TeX implementations on the Macintosh (public domain OzTeX and commercial Textures) is that the former operates inside MPW (Macintosh Programmer's Workshop), Apple's official programming environment.

A few words about MPW ......

MPW is a unix-like shell, allowing command line input. Apple provides compilers for Pascal, C and Assembler; third party companies supply compilers for other languages such as Fortran, Lisp, Ada or Modula-2.

MPW tools are available at no cost from the Apple Developer FTP site:

Further information on MPW is available from:

To run DirectTeX you do not need any compiler, just the MPW Shell with the most basic tools.

In MPW any command can be entered either explicitly on the command line, or thru menus, following the well known ``Macintosh human interface'' guidelines. As a matter of fact, every command can very easily become part of a menu, so that the user can construct his/her own interface.

MPW (version 3.2) can run tasks in batch mode (have you ever tried to rename 100 files on the Macintosh by hand? you'll only need a few seconds to tell MPW how to do it!) and is compatible with system~7's (or~6.0.7's) multitasking so that you can run other applications while MPW is working in the background.

You can find a good introduction to MPW in Mark Andrew's Programmer's Guide to MPW, Addison-Wesley ``Macintosh Inside Out'' series, 1990.

Back to DirectTeX

DirectTeX does more than just running it's tools under MPW; it provides a bunch of scripts to automate TeX-related tasks. To run the file toto.tex through TeX and preview it you can either type the detailed commands
VirTeX.881 '&Plain toto.tex'
DVIReader.881 -preview toto.dvi
or more rapidly use three menu commands: for selecting, TeX ing and previewing your document. These commands will activate script files, written by Wilfried. Or you can even resume all three actions in one command, by writing your own script file.

To make installation easier, Wilfried has written an ``Installer''. This program is intelligent enough to find out which microprocessor your machine is running on and if a coprocessor is available; it then automatically installs the appropriate versions of the tools. The use's guide can be printed automatically, using the Times font family (Times is printer-resident; so you'll get the manual printed even if your TeX fonts are not yet correctly installed --- a common bottleneck situation).

TeX nical data

DirectTeX features the latest versions of TeXfootnote{Including TeXXeT's bidirectional primitives, using Peter Breitenlohner's TeX-XeT changefile so that the output is in regular dvi and not in ivd. and MF. Wilfried's response time to new versions (or should I say ``bug fixes'') of TeX\MF can be mesured in hours, or at most, in days... And besides it's author, DirectTeX itself is quite fast; Lothar Meyer-Lerbs (sc dante's Macintosh coordinator) qualifies it as the fastest TeX on the Mac (tests published in "Die TeX nische Komodie 4/1991").

DVI files are previewed and printed by DVIReader, a driver working similarly to Tom Rokicki's dvips. EPSF and PICT files can be included, while the output can be done both in PostScript or QuickDraw (PICT) so that non-PostScript printers can be used. DVIReader supports virtual fonts (for the first time on the Mac).

Every time a font is missing, DirectTeX adds it to a list of missing fonts. On demand (just another menu item) these fonts are automatically generated, GFtoPK'ed and put where they belong. Another menu item will erase all temporary files, such as tt.log, tt.aux, tt.gf etc. Both actions are scripts, and hence can be modified and optimized by the user.

Last but not least, DirectTeX is flexible and hacker-friendly: xchar, xord, xptr, xcls, xicl} and xlcl arrays of TeX, MF and BibTeX are stored as Macintosh resources and can be modified by the user, as well as most of memory parameters.

Future developments of DirectTeX include automatic creation of virtual fonts for PostScript fonts, output in Adobe Illustrator format, a standalone DVI previewer in Desk Accessory form and several other enhancements.

How to get DirectTeX

Note - the following is old information.   I will review it soon.  Rama.

DirectTeX is now present on the file server in Stuttgart at


Look into the folder /soft/tex/machines/mac/directtex.

DirectTeX is shareware ($100 or DM 150.- or FF 500) and can be obtained
from several servers (including Stuttgart) by anonymous ftp. It also
can be obtained at the author's address:
Wilfried Ricken
Blumenfeldstrass e 4
W-4630 Bochum 1
Internet: wilfr@hadron.tp2.ruhr-uni-bochum.de

Here's the readme file included:

Welcome to DirectTeX, a complete TeX package for the
Apple Macintosh. Some notes about DirectTeX:

- DirectTeX is ShareWare. Please refer to the file
  Read Me !! on the installation disk or to the
  manuals supplied as DVI files
- You will need MPW (the Macintosh Programmers WorkShop)
  to use this implementation of TeX
- DirectTeX needs an Apple Macintosh with at least 2MB
  of memory and a hard disk with at least 10MB space
- This package includes TeX, Metafont, BibTeX, MakeIndex,
  all TeXWare and MFWare tools, a driver for all printers
  (including PostScript) and for previewing DVI files,
  the Plain and LaTeX macro packages for TeX (including
  all style files for LaTeX), the Metafont input files
  for all CMR fonts and some other fonts, but no PK files.
  You can use Metafont to create your PK files
- All programs run under MPW in a fully integrated
  fashion. The user interface is highly flexible

Some notes about installing DirectTeX on your computer:

- Copy all HQX files to your Macintosh. Use UUDecode
  or any other program that is able to decode HQX files
  (like StuffIt) to decode the files
- Use DiskCopy to copy the disk images back to 800K disks
- Now you have the DirectTeX installation disks ready.
  Refer to the file Read Me !! how to install DirectTeX
  on your hard disk (or your AppleTalk network)


Wilfried Ricken


The current version supports TeX--XeT, which produces ordinary .dvi 
files. This is different from TeX-XeT, which produces modified .dvi 
files. I have become something of a beta tester for the MetaFont part 
of the package, and can testify that it is very good indeed.  Motti 
has now kindly downloaded it onto the local cc server, so that any 
Mac on the network can take it. If you have any questions, let me 

Scott (Petrack)