A n00b's adventure in the wonderful realm of BSD.

LaTeX in BSD

I was surprised to see that a TeX Live meta-package is missing for FreeBSD, but there is one for OpenBSD. And it also installs nicely as a dependency for gedit-latex, a plugin for gedit that is probably the best LaTeX editor I could find in GTK.

The magic of gedit-latex plugin is that it adds cite-autocompletion and it’s beyond me why this feature is not available in every other LaTeX editor, considering what an excruciating pain dealing with biography is and how much a simple feature like this can help. I think there is only one more editor with cite-autocompletion, namely TexStudio, but it won’t compile on OpenBSD nor FreeBSD and it’s Qt4 and too bloated for my taste. Also, gedit is a nice, clean, simple design application that integrates well in my Xfce’s GTK medium.

FreeBSD 9 has binaries of Gnome 2 while OpenBSD 5.1 got Gnome 3 already. Hence, the ugliness of gedit in OpenBSD, but some theme tweaking I guess could make it better, that’s the only annoyance of my current setup. gedit 2 looked way better in FreeBSD’s Xfce with GTK2 themes, but I’ll dig for some beauty tips in the following days. The gedit 3 is the way to go anyway, no reason to look back.

Although installing TeX Live from official ports in FreeBSD is not possible, there is an alternate solution but I find it convoluted and I prefer the OpenBSD way: installing it from packages. Just type:

pkg_add -vi gedit-latex

and the rest will follow automatically, the system will fetch and install texlive_texmf-minimal package with all the necessary dependencies and you’ll have a nice TeX environment on your OpenBSD 5.1 machine. Sweet. It took me a while to find out about this, as I thought there are no binary packages for TeX Live (don’t ask why I didn’t just look into the ports directory), so I compile it from ports not a few day ago.

gedit-latex package texlive_texmf-minimal and this could be enough for some tasks, but trying to compile my .tex files spilled out a lot of errors concerning special characters like ăîșțâ, so I knew that I needed ut8x and ucs package, which wasn’t in the installed Tex Live distribution. To fix this, we can install the following:

pkg_add -vi texlive_texmf-full

Now we’ll have utf8x, ucs (I know it’s not recommended to use ucs, but it’s the only way to type spcial characters directly in editor and not having to wrapt my fingers for LaTeX codes in each and every word) and mchem package for easily typing chemical symbols.

There are others editors besides gedit-latex that have syntax highlighting for LaTex, but they are either ugly, bloated, Qt4 and old (kile, texmaker, texmakerx) or just ugly (gummi). None of them, with the exception of TeXStudio, a newer one that won’t compile on BSD just yet, won’t have cite-autocompletion which for me is a must. So I guess I’ll stick with gedit-latex for a while, it seems to work just fine for my needs, although it uses to crash a lot.

  1. zerobsd posted this
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