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1. Introduction.

1.1 Copyright.

The teTeX-HOWTO is copyright (C) 1997, 1998 by Robert Kiesling. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this manual provided that the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute modified versions of this manual under the conditions for verbatim copying, provided also that the sections entitled, ``Distribution,'' and, ``GNU General Public License,'' are included exactly as in the original, and provided that the entire resulting derived work is distributed under the terms of a permission notice identical to this one.

Permission is granted to copy and distribute translations of this manual into another language, under the above conditions for modified versions. except that the sections entitled, ``Distribution,'' and, ``GNU General Public License,'' may be included in a translation approved by the Free Software Foundation instead of in the original English. Please refer to Section Distribution and Copyright for terms of copying.

1.2 Software described in this document.

TeX handles only the formatting part of the document preparation. Generating output from TeX is like compiling source code into object code, which still needs to be linked. You prepare an input file with a text editor----what most people think of as ``word processing''--- and format the input file document with TeX to produce a device-independent output file, called a .dvi file.

You also need a program or two to translate TeX's .dvi output for your screen and printer. These programs are collectively known as ``dviware.'' For example, TeX itself only makes requests for fonts. It is up to the .dvi output translator to provide the actual font for the output regardless of whether the medium is a video screen or paper. This extra step may seem overly complicated, but the abstraction allows documents to display the same on different devices with little or no change to the original document.


TeX is implemented for practically every serious computer system in the world---and quite a few ``non-serious'' ones---so implementors must provide the installation facilities for all of them. This accounts in part for teTeX's complexity, in addition to the inherent complexity of any TeX installation. It also accounts for the fact that installing the system yourself is a significant task, and unless you are already familiar with TeX, it is easy to get lost in the numerous executable programs, TeX files, documentation, and fonts.

Fortunately, teTeX is part of the GNU/Linux distribution. You can install the package much more easily using GNU/Linux installation tools. You may already have teTeX installed on your system. If so, you can skip ahead to Section Using teTeX.

However, if you want to install the package, the archives necessary for a workable teTeX installation are on the CTAN archive network. There is a list of these sites in Section CTAN site list.

CTAN is the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network, a series of anonymous FTP sites that archive TeX programs, macros, fonts, and documentation. In the course of using TeX you'll probably become familiar with at least one CTAN site. In this document, a pathname like ~CTAN/contrib/pstricks means ``look in the directory contrib/pstricks of your nearest CTAN site.''

The installation of the generic teTeX distribution described in Section Installing the CTAN teTeX distribution concentrates on the Intel versions of Linux. Installing teTeX on other hardware should require only substituting the appropriate executable program archive in the installation process.

In addition to the executable programs, the distribution includes all of the TeX and LaTeX package, metafont and its sources, bibtex, makeindex, and all of the documentation... more than 4 megabytes' worth. The documentation covers everything you will forseeably need to know to get started. So, you should install all of the documents. Not only will you eventually read them, the documents themselves provide many examples of ``live'' TeX and LaTeX code.

TeX was written by Professor Donald Knuth of Stanford University. It is a lower-level typesetting language for all of the higher-level packages like LaTeX. Essentially, LaTeX is a set of TeX macros that provide convenient, predefined document formats for end users. If you like the formats provided by LaTeX, you may never need to learn bare-bones TeX programming. The difference between the two languages is like the difference between assembly language and C. You can have the speed and flexibility of TeX, or the convenience of LaTeX.

By the way, the letters of the word ``TeX'' are Greek, tau-epsilon-chi. It is not a fraternity, but the root of the Greek word, techne, which means art and/or science. ``TeX'' is not pronounced like the first syllable in ``Texas.'' The chi has no English equivalent, but TeX is generally pronounced so that it rhymes with ``yecch,'' to use Professor Knuth's example from The TeXBook, which is one of the standard TeX references. When writing, ``TeX,'' on character devices, always use the standard capitalization, or the \TeX{} macro in typesetting.

Text editors.

Any of the editors that work under Linux---jed, joe, jove, vi, vim, stevie, Emacs, and microemacs---will work to prepare a TeX input file, as long as the editor reads and writes plain-vanilla ASCII text. My preference is GNU Emacs. There are several reasons for this:

  • You can format, preview and print documents with Emacs's TeX and LaTeX modes.
  • Emacs can automatically insert TeX-style, ``curly quotes,'' as you type, rather than the "ASCII-vanilla" kind.
  • Emacs has integrated support for Texinfo, a hypertext documentation system.
  • Emacs is widely supported. Versions 19.34 and later, for example, are included in the major U.S. Linux distributions. The most recent version from the GNU archives is 20.3.
  • Emacs does everything except butter the toast in the morning.
  • Emacs is free.


Tomas Rokicki's dvips generates Postscript from a .dvi file. In addition, it runs Metafont if necessary to generate the bit mapped fonts it needs or uses Postscript fonts for the output. It can also crop and resize pages and perform graphics translations from instructions in a TeX or LaTeX file,

The dvips program is part of the teTeX distribution. It is discussed fully in Section Mixing text and graphics with <tt>dvips</tt>


Much of TeX's, and therefore LaTeX's, complexity, arises from its implementation of various font systems, and the way these fonts are specified. A major improvement of LaTeX 2e over its predecessor was the way users specify fonts, the former New Font Selection Scheme. They're discussed in Section Characters and type styles, Section TeX Font Commands, and Section Using Postscript fonts.)

teTeX comes distributed with about a dozen standard fonts preloaded, which is enough to get you started. Also provided are the font metrics descriptions, in .tfm (TeX font metric) files. To generate the other fonts that you need, it is simply a matter of installing the metafont sources. teTeX's .dvi utilities will invoke metafont automatically and generate the Computer Modern fonts you need.

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